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Low HDL and heart disease linkage studied

HELSINKI, Finland, May 30 (UPI) -- Finnish scientists have discovered one of the reasons people with low HDL levels are at risk for heart disease might be a defective version of a protein.

People with familial low HDL, or hypolipoproteinemia, have an impaired ability to transport cholesterol from their cells, which leads to an accumulation of cholesterol in many tissues. For some people, the disease is due to mutations in proteins called ATP-binding cassettes, or ABCs, that transport lipids and other molecules inside and outside cells. But for many other affected individuals, the cause of the disease is still not well known.

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Marja-Riitta Taskinen and colleagues at Helsinki University Central Hospital examined how the first steps of the transport of cholesterol into the liver were disturbed in individuals with familial low HDL. They found the genetic expression of ABC proteins was increased in low HDL subjects, indicating those proteins might be abnormally produced in the affected individuals.

The research appears in the June issue of the Journal of Lipid Research.

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