Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Heart disease, specifically coronary artery disease (CAD) the most common form of heart disease, is a major cause of death throughout the world.  CAD is from the three forms, low- density lipoproteins (LDL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and triglycerides, that are circulating in the blood. High levels of LDL are well known to lead to heart disease, but the relationship between HDL, triglycerides and heart disease is unknown.  A study done a couple years ago Kathiresan and her colleagues that found no linkage between HDL and heart disease.  They also came to the conclusion that high levels of HDL, the so-called "good cholesterol," does not lower the risk of heart disease.  The same group of researchers looked at the association between triglycerides and heart disease and found a small connection that lead to CAD.


 A group of researchers from the Broad Institute, in Massachusetts General Hospital, observed the DNA of thousands of individuals discovered four mutations on the APOC3 gene that lowers triglyceride levels in the blood.  The APOC3 is a protein made in the liver that goes into the blood that is thought to prevent the removal of triglyceride.  All four mutations ultimately accomplish the decrease of coronary heart disease by lowering the production of the APOC3 protein.  By doing so triglycerides are removed more quickly when eating a meal so less enters the blood stream.  The researchers took 4,000 people and sequenced their genes looking for differences associated with triglyceride levels in the blood.  What they found was that individuals with the mutations on the APOC3 gene had 40% lower triglyceride levels than those who didn't.  The researchers concluded that these four rare mutations protects against the risk of coronary heart disease.

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