Sticky ultra-bad cholesterol discovered

May 28, 2011 at 1:23 AM

WARWICK, England, May 28 (UPI) -- So-called ultra-bad cholesterol -- MGmin-low-density lipoprotein -- appears to be more likely than normal LDL to stick to artery walls, British researchers say.

Scientists at the University of Warwick in England say the super-sticky ultra-bad cholesterol is more common among those with type 2 diabetes and the elderly than among others.

Study leader Dr. Naila Rabbani, an associate professor at Warwick Medical School, says the researchers made the discovery by creating human MGmin-LDL in the laboratory, and then studying its characteristics and interactions with other important molecules in the body.

The MGmin-LDL is created by the addition of sugar to normal LDL -- glycation – making LDL smaller and denser. By changing its shape, the sugar exposes new regions on the surface of the LDL, Rabbani says.

The exposed regions are more likely to stick to artery walls, helping build fatty plaques, and as the fatty plaques grow they narrow arteries, reducing blood flow. They can rupture, triggering a blood clot that causes a heart attack or stroke, Rabbani explains.

"The next challenge is to tackle this more dangerous type of cholesterol with treatments that could help neutralize its harmful effects on patients' arteries," Rabbani says in a statement.

The findings are published online in the journal Diabetes.

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