Canadian researchers report breakthrough in lowering LDL levels, fatty acids

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Medical researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada, said they have found a way to reduce the amount of low-density lipids (LDL) and fatty acids that end up in the blood from metabolized food, an integral discovery that could lead to new drugs to treat and reverse the effects of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease related to obesity.

In a series of articles in 2007, Richard Lehner, MD, and his colleagues reported they successfully decreased the level of LDL in the blood of mice and hamsters by manipulating a particular enzyme.

“We established the proof of principle of how these metabolic pathways work,” Lehner said. “We discovered the activity of an enzyme that releases fatty acids from fat cells and the liver into the blood and how to inhibit this from happening.”

The researchers believe their findings to be noteworthy because of their discover of how to inhibit LDL and triglycerides, which are another form of fat in the blood and a leading risk in obesity-related Type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease.

"There is a substantial pharmacological interest in the enzymes that control triglycerides -- fatty acids and cholesterol metabolism in tissues,” Lehner said.

He said that their discovery requires further testing. He also noted that a pill would not be “a magic bullet.” People still need to make the right lifestyle choices by exercising and eating properly, Lehner added.

Lehner is director of the Group on Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation are supporting the research.