MIT researchers discovered how a particular gene controls a pathway that flushes cholesterol from the body. The study focused on the SIRT1 gene.
The MIT team report finding that low SIRT1 levels in mice led to cholesterol buildup in cells such as macrophages due to reduced activity of a protein called LXR (liver X receptor).
LXR is responsible for transporting cholesterol out of macrophage cells. SIRT1 boosts LXR activity, so that cholesterol is expelled from macrophages and out of the body by HDL, according to the MIT investigators.
The paper will be published in the October 12 issue of Molecular Cell.