Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center have discovered a gene that regulates high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. It was previously established that HDL levels were regulated by genes in the lipase family. By testing the human gene in mice, Thomas Quertermous, MD, and a team of researchers found that the endothelial lipase gene was expressed in a variety of tissues.
According to Dr. Quertermous, ?When we overexpressed the human gene in the mice, the HDL cholesterol levels dropped. Conversely, when we knocked out the gene in mice, the levels were much higher.? Further research is needed to determine how endothelial lipase affects HDL cholesterol levels but this discovery is a first step in developing new treatments for heart disease.