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Oct 25, 2007

Enzyme’s Role in Preventing Heart Disease Revealed

  • Virginia Commonwealth University researchers found that cholesteryl ester hydrolase (CEH) may play a role in reducing heart disease. They suggest that the enzyme not only prevents the formation of new plaques but also reduces existing plaques.

    The investigators focused their efforts on macrophage foam cells, which are responsible for storing large amounts of cholesterol that leads to the clogging of arteries by forming plaques. In a previous study, they found that CEH present in the foam cells regulates the amount of cholesterol that can be removed by HDL.

    Using transgenic mice that were fed a high fat and cholesterol-rich diet, the team was able to show that overexpression of the human gene for CEH in macrophage cells reduced the cholesterol content of atherosclerotic lesions from the artery-clogging foam cells and decreased the lesion area. This made the mice significantly less susceptible to heart disease, the team reports.

    The findings appear in the October issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI).



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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