Scientists from the University of Warwick have found a new form of cholesterol which could increase the risk of heart disease substantially.
“Bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), is found naturally in the bloodstream; but as high levels of waxy fat increase and cling to artery walls, cardiovascular disease becomes more and more of a risk if untreated or mismanaged. This new research now suggests that there could be an ‘ultra-bad’, (MGmin –LDL), cholesterol that could further increase the likely hood of detrimental cardiovascular disease.
The research, and subsequent discovery, was conducted by recreating MGmin-LDL and then testing its various properties within the body. Scientists found that the new form of cholesterol was “stickier” and managed to attach itself to arteries easier.
This process, where cholesterol sticks to the artery walls, is what causes plaques of fat to form that eventually reduce the blood flow through the specific artery. Once blood flow is effectively blocked, the artery wall may burst causing a heart attack or stroke; as oxygen carried in the blood cannot reach vital areas.
Dr Shannon Amoils, Research Advisor at the British Heart Foundation, the organisation that funded the study, commented on the importance of research like this concerning overall treatment possibilities. “Understanding exactly how ‘ultrabad’ LDL damages arteries is crucial, as this knowledge could help develop new anti-cholesterol treatments for patients.” She said
MGmin-LDL is formed via glycation, which is the addition of a sugar to LDL, which changes its shape, making it adhere to the arteries easier.