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Deciphering a Cholesterol Drug

Researchers learn more about part of action of ezetimibe in intestines

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 25, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- One part of the action of the anti-cholesterol drug ezetimibe (Zetia) has been discovered by scientists at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

The scientists found that treating hypercholesterolemic mice with the drug disrupts a complex of two proteins -- caveolin 1 and annexin 2 -- in the intestine.

The researchers also used "anti-sense" molecules to prevent the formation of the complex of the two proteins in zebrafish. This resulted in impaired cholesterol absorption in the intestines of the zebrafish.

The results suggest these two proteins are integral components of an unidentified cholesterol transport system in the intestine. If scientists can gain a better understanding of cholesterol transport and absorption in the intestine, they may be able to develop better ways to treat obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The study was published the Feb. 23-27 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about LDL cholesterol.

SOURCE: Thomas Jefferson University, news release, Feb. 23, 2004
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