Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Curbing cholesterol could help combat infections, study shows

Date:
March 9, 2011
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Lowering cholesterol could help the body's immune system fight viral infections, researchers have found. Scientists have shown a direct link between the workings of the immune system and cholesterol levels.

Lowering cholesterol could help the body's immune system fight viral infections, researchers have found. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have shown a direct link between the workings of the immune system and cholesterol levels.

"What we have discovered is that a key immune hormone stimulated upon infection can lower cholesterol levels and thereby deprive viral infections of the sustenance they need to grow," said Professor Peter Ghazal, Division of Pathway Medicine. "Drugs currently exist to lower cholesterol levels, but the next step would be to see if such drugs would also work to help bolster our immune systems."

Infection response

Researchers found that when the body succumbs to a viral infection a hormone in the immune system sends signals to blood cells. This causes cholesterol levels to be lowered.

Cholesterol produced by our cells is needed for viruses and certain bacteria to grow. Limiting our body's production of cholesterol would therefore curb the opportunity for viruses to thrive. Scientists say that it may be possible to use cholesterol lowering drugs that also boost the immune system.

Currently drugs such as antibiotics are used to fight infections by targeting the bug directly.

Further research

The researchers hope to find new ways to manipulate the body's immune system by targeting cholesterol metabolism. This could involve mimicking immune signals sent to lower the production of cholesterol.

Such treatment would help overcome the problems associated with antibiotic resistance. This is because it would seek to enhance the way the body responds to an infection, instead of focussing on attacking the bug itself

The research is published in the journal PLoS Biology.

The research is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the British Heart Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mathieu Blanc, Wei Yuan Hsieh, Kevin A. Robertson, Steven Watterson, Guanghou Shui, Paul Lacaze, Mizanur Khondoker, Paul Dickinson, Garwin Sing, Sara Rodríguez-Martín, Peter Phelan, Thorsten Forster, Birgit Strobl, Matthias Müller, Rudolph Riemersma, Timothy Osborne, Markus R. Wenk, Ana Angulo, Peter Ghazal. Host Defense against Viral Infection Involves Interferon Mediated Down-Regulation of Sterol Biosynthesis. PLoS Biology, 2011; 9 (3): e1000598 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000598

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Curbing cholesterol could help combat infections, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110308172940.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2011, March 9). Curbing cholesterol could help combat infections, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110308172940.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Curbing cholesterol could help combat infections, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110308172940.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) — Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. 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:
from the past week

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