Molecule Triggers Fat in Liver

Published Online: Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Research has proven that saturated fats and trans fatty acids cause high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Both are risk factors in cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. A new study identified a molecule in the liver that explains how eating fatty foods increases the risk of heart disease and cancer.

The researchers reported that the harmful effects of saturated and trans fats are activated by PGC-1beta, a biochemical switch located in the liver cells. The investigators explained that, when PGC-1beta is set in motion by harmful fats, it alters liver metabolism and causes an upsurge of the liver's production of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). In turn, the VLDL produces low-density lipoprotein. Furthermore, it manufactures higher levels of triglycerides.

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