Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Mechanism Of Cholesterol Lowering Drug Discovered

Date:
June 18, 2007
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
New research in animals suggests why the commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug ezetimibe (Zetia) is so potent. Cholesterol comes not only from the foods we eat, but is also produced by the liver. The organ is involved in making cholesterol, as well as in taking up cholesterol and packaging it for the body's use.

New research in animals suggests why the commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug ezetimibe (Zetiaฎ) is so potent. The research is reported by scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Related Articles


It had previously been thought that the drug works by preventing cells in the intestine from absorbing cholesterol. The new research suggests that Zetia also works in the liver. In both locations, the drug's target is a protein known as NPC1L1 that moves cholesterol into the body's cells. Zetia blocks the protein's actions so cholesterol cannot be absorbed.

Cholesterol comes not only from the foods we eat, but is also produced by the liver. The organ is involved in making cholesterol, as well as in taking up cholesterol and packaging it for the body's use.

"We know that this protein that the drug targets is expressed not only in the intestine, but is abundant in the human liver," said Ryan E. Temel, Ph.D., lead author.

The scientists made the discovery about Zetia's dual action by studying mice that were specially engineered to produce NPC1L1 in the liver. When there were high levels of the protein in the liver, which enhanced cholesterol absorption by the cells, there was a drastic reduction in cholesterol levels in the bile. But when the mice were treated with Zetia, the cholesterol levels returned to normal, suggesting that the drug targets NPC1L1 in the liver.

"These findings suggest that in humans, the drug may reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by inhibiting NPC1L1 function in both the intestine and liver," said Liqing Yu, M.D., Ph.D., senior researcher and an assistant professor of pathology, Section on Lipid Sciences.

The researchers theorize that when Zetia blocks this process in the liver, the cholesterol that cannot be absorbed is secreted into bile, the digestive juices that are stored in the gallbladder. Normally, most of biliary cholesterol is secreted from the body in the feces. However, when the bile contains too much cholesterol, gallstones can result. These hardened pieces of cholesterol can block the passageway from the gallbladder to the intestine, resulting in severe abdominal pain, liver damage and nutrient malabsorption.

"The fact that Zetia works in two locations is positive because it makes it more effective as a cholesterol-lowering drug," said Temel. "But our research suggests the potential for having too much cholesterol in the bile, which could possibly cause gallstones."

The researchers hope to study the question in monkeys and said more research is needed to see if the drug increases gallstone formation in some people., "Until more research is done in animal models that naturally express the protein, it is difficult to say whether this would apply to humans," said Yu.

Details of this research are published by the Journal of Clinical Investigation in the July 2 print issue. 

Co-researchers were Weiqing Tang, M.D., Yinyan Ma, B.S., Lawrence Rudel, Ph.D., and Mark Willingham, M.D., all with Wake Forest, Yiannis Ioannou, Ph.D., and Joanna Davies, Ph.D., both from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Lisa-Mari Nilsson, M.D., from Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge in Stockholm, Sweden.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "New Mechanism Of Cholesterol Lowering Drug Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070617164050.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2007, June 18). New Mechanism Of Cholesterol Lowering Drug Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070617164050.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "New Mechanism Of Cholesterol Lowering Drug Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070617164050.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) — A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) — Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins