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Aug 8, 2007

Researchers Find Enzyme’s Role in the Regulation of Good Cholesterol

  • University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers identified a role for liver enzymes called proprotein convertases and endothelial lipase (EL) in the control of HDL-C levels in mice.

    “By and large, the medicines now available lower levels of the bad low-density lipoprotein cholesterol,” says Weijun Jin, M.D., one of the authors of the study. “There is a great need for methods to raise good cholesterol levels. Our findings suggest there may be multiple places to interrupt the metabolism of HDL-C.”

    In the current study, the scientists found that treatments that partially block the activity of proprotein convertases decreased plasma HDL-C levels in mice. Further examination showed that the metabolic effect of the proprotein convertases depended on EL, which breaks down HDL-C. Proprotein convertases normally reduces EL function, thus, the loss of proprotein convertase activity leads to an increase in EL and a decline in HDL-C, the team explains. The investigators also showed that increased activity of proprotein convertases in the liver of mice gives a significant boost to HDL

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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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