Ground-breaking findings: Protects iron against atherosclerosis?
According to experts, around four million people in Germany suffer from arteriosclerosis (atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries), but every third time the disease is diagnosed. The bottlenecks of the arteries can lead to severe sequelae after. Researchers from Austria have now gained new insights about the disease.
According to a recent communication from the Medical University of Innsbruck, the initial detection of direct interactions between iron metabolism and Lipid metabolism could pave a new therapeutic way to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol and hence the prevention of heart disease optimize.
Increased Risk Of Arteriosclerosis
In the renowned scientific magazine “European Heart Journal” published findings are based on many years of cooperation of Innsbruck, research teams around the internists and experts on Iron Günter Weiss Medical University of Innsbruck.
The starting point of this research work was therefore based on the surprising discovery that the makers and carriers of a mutated HFE gene-alterations in this Protein, the hereditary hemochromatosis (genetic iron overload) trigger – low LDL – cholesterol levels.
“It was a surprise because individuals with the genetic iron storage disease, the most common recessive genetic disease among Europeans, due to iron deposits in the vessels, increased atherosclerosis has been attributed to risk,” explains the Director of the Innsbruck Univ.-Clinic for Internal medicine II, Günter Weiss.
“In the professional world, disagreement prevailed so far, whether iron overload has positive or negative effects on the cardiovascular risk profile,” says the scientist who has been researching for many years, to the iron metabolism and associated diseases.
Administration of a iron diet
In the case of a in the laboratory of Günter Weiss established Knockout mouse model of iron overload and the human body approximated cholesterol levels, the research team was able to determine after the administration of an iron diet, the mice developed less atherosclerosis.
The Innsbruck scientists were also able to demonstrate in over 200,000 human samples of HFE-Gent projecting from different Biobanks and genome-wide Association studies have low LDL values.
“In our research, we identified three mechanisms that explain this relationship”, as Ivan Tancevski from the Team.
“We were able to demonstrate that the hemochromatosis protein HFE regulates the Expression of the LDL receptor on liver cells by making the cell membrane available, and that Kupffer cells, which are expressing the phagocytic cells of the liver, LDL receptors, and the metabolism of LDL-cholesterol are involved,” explains the researcher.
“For the Transfer of the blood fats from these Kupffer cells, the iron is finally in charge by the transport protein, ABCA1 up-regulated, so that LDL from the Serum is removed,” adds Egon Demetz, first author of the work, the physiological Details.
New Treatment Approach
The elucidation of this link want to the Innsbruck researchers are now available for new strategies for the therapeutic prevention of atherosclerosis good.
“Especially in the context of familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic Defect is limited to the function of the LDL receptor, it is possible to force this interaction between the HFE Protein, the Kupffer cells and iron in order to transport more LDL from the Serum and reduce the level of cholesterol,” explains White. (ad)