Lipid signals 'cut plaque risk'

Signals in the body that reduce cholesterol in atherosclerosis also help suppress other plaque-forming factors, researchers claim.

Columbia University scientists studied a set of transporter proteins that remove cholesterol from cells.

They found that these proteins can also suppress leukocytosis, a key factor in the development of atherosclerosis.

The findings may provide a potential new therapeutic target for preventing or reversing atherosclerosis, they said.

The researchers noted that proteins called ATP binding cassette transporters can protect against atherosclerosis bec-ause they facilitate the removal of cholesterol from cells.

Mice deficient in these proteins have high cholesterol and accelerated atherosclerotic plaque build-up.

However, the presence of high amounts of HDL cholesterol reverses plaque formation.

The researchers concluded that the signal pathways that help prevent plaque accumulation can also help to reduce leukocytosis.

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