Scientists have found a possible target for drugs that could help lower Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the ‘bad cholesterol’ in humans.
Results of the study were published in the journal Genes & Development and journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
Researchers found that the enzyme IDOL plays a key role in the ability of LDL receptor to bind with 'bad' cholesterol.
Cells in the liver produce LDL receptors, which bind to LDL and remove them from the blood, lowering cholesterol levels.
"Development of a drug that interferes with IDOL's activity could help lower levels of LDL. Our research has greatly enhanced our understanding of this important process," said Dr. John Schwabe, Head of Biochemistry at the University of Leicester.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as 'bad' cholesterol, carries more cholesterol. Too much cholesterol in blood is known to stick to the walls of arteries causing plaque. Plaque can narrow arteries or even block them. High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, leading to heart attacks, heart failure and strokes according to National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"A potential future drug that targets IDOL could be prescribed in conjunction with statin drugs, which also cut cholesterol levels by increasing production of the LDL receptor and these two studies make considerable headway towards this," said Schwabe.
The universities have filed 2 patents related to the research findings.