A new research carried out by a team of scientists at the Johns Hopkins University suggests that altering fat metabolism can avert risk of heart attacks.
Analysis of animal studies (on mice and rabbits) led the scientists to find a way to block abnormal cholesterol production, transport and breakdown and consequently reduce coronary heart disease risk.
The new method could prevent the development of atherosclerosis, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes and the most important cause of death among people, according to the paper published in the journal Circulation.
The dangerous condition appears when fat builds inside blood vessels over time and renders them stiff, narrowed and hardened, resulting maloperation to feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and the brain.
The study researchers claim that “they identified and halted the action of a single molecular culprit responsible for a range of biological glitches that affect the body's ability to properly use, transport and purge itself of cholesterol.”
They applied an existing human-made compound called D-PDMP to block the synthesis of a fat-and-sugar molecule known as glycosphingolipid (GSL).
The result revealed that development of heart disease in mice and rabbits fed a high-fat and cholesterol-laden diet was prevented.
The used D-PDMP appears to work by interfering with a constellation of genetic pathways that regulate fat metabolism on multiple fronts.
The new way motivates the cells to derive and absorb cholesterol from food, to the way cholesterol is transported to tissues and organs where it is broken down by the liver and excreted from the body.
"Current cholesterol-lowering medications tackle the problem on a single front -- either by blocking cholesterol synthesis or by preventing the body from absorbing too much of it," says lead investigator Subroto Chatterjee, Ph.D., a cardio-metabolic expert at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
Furthermore, the experiments also unveiled that treatment with D-PDMP led to a reduction in the animals' levels of so-called bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein, LDL.
Daily D-PDMP treatment in animals showed that the current study had no side effects the new findings
The team is currently designing a compound drug with D-PDMP to be tested in other animals and eventually in humans.