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GEN News Highlights : Oct 6, 2006

SDSU Researchers' Discovery Could Revive MTP Inhibitors

Reducing the fatty liver side-effects of drugs could lead to safe use in humans.
San Diego State University (SDSU) researchers have discovered that blocking the activity of two genes that control the production of lipoproteins reduces blood levels of bad cholesterol without causing fat retention in the liver.

This discovery provides new opportunities to develop drugs shown to be effective in reducing bad cholesterol and heart disease without the side effect of fatty deposits on the liver. The discovery is published in the October 6 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Funded by the NIH, SDSU Heart Institute researchers found that by inhibiting two proteins, microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) and liver fatty acid-binding protein (L-FABP), liver production of lipoproteins can be blocked without causing triglycerides to build on the liver. Normally, these two complementary proteins work together to produce fat and package it into lipoproteins.

“This discovery will resurrect the drug development of MTP inhibitors, so they can be used safely and effectively to lower cholesterol in combination with L-FABP inhibitors,” says Roger Davis, SDSU researcher. “Additionally, MTP inhibitors appear to be more effective and more easily tolerated than statins.”