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Genes found to play a role in cholesterol distribution

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who have a family history of heart problems may benefit from cholesterol testing to determine their heart risk. A new study has found that certain genes play a role in the distribution of cholesterol throughout the circulatory system.

Investigators from the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio used animal models to find genes that play a role in elevated cholesterol levels in the blood. When cholesterol builds up in arteries, it can block the flow of blood, contributing to heart attacks and stroke.

Researchers found that a single gene led to increased levels of cholesterol in the blood of opossums that were fed diets rich in fat.

"This research will improve our understanding of cholesterol metabolism and may shed light on why some people have high levels of bad cholesterol in blood while others do not when they consume cholesterol-enriched diets," said John L. VandeBerg, who led the study.

He added that involving family history in cholesterol testing could help doctors to better identify patients who are at risk for heart health complications later in life.

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