Discovery May Help Fight High Cholesterol

Published Online: Saturday, February 1, 2003

Researchers have solved the 3-D structure of a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor?s extracellular domain.The findings, which were published in Science, ?will help scientists understand the mechanics of how our bodies absorb cholesterol from the blood,? said lead author Dr. Johann Deisenhofer. ?Hopefully, we can use the information to develop treatments for people with mutations that diminish the functions of their LDL receptors,? he added. Approximately 1000 LDL receptor mutations have been found in people with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), which affects 1 in every 500 people. By revealing the structure of the receptor, scientists now can begin to understand why these different mutations cause FH.

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