July 10, 2009

Cholesterol Control Genes

Twenty genes playing large roles in controlling cholesterol within cells have been identified through several innovative methods. These genes may also point the way to new risk factors for heart disease.

"Some of the genes identified by us as regulators of cellular cholesterol in future studies might turn out to be disease genes that contribute to hypercholesterolemia in some cases," Heiko Runz of the University of Heidelberg was quoted as saying. "Moreover, the strategy we used could open a new avenue to identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease."

Researchers were in pursuit of new cholesterol-regulatory factors, and started by looking at genes that showed a similar behavior pattern already identified with cholesterol. RNA interference, a method used to identify cellular behaviors. It led the team to a list of 20 genes they believe to be relevant in maintaining cellular levels of cholesterol.

SOURCE: Cell Metabolism, July 8, 2009