Researcher’s findings featured on cover of ASBMB journal

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Research from the laboratory of Shobha Ghosh, Ph.D., is featured on the cover of the April 1issue of the Journal of Lipid Research. The image is based on new study findings by Ghosh and her VCU research team, also reported in the same issue of the journal.

Ghosh, a professor of internal medicine, pulmonary division in the VCU School of Medicine, and her colleagues have been studying a key enzyme called CEH, which regulates the removal of cholesterol from cells and makes it available to HDL, or “good cholesterol.”

By understanding the cellular processes involved with the removal of cholesterol from the body, researchers may ultimately develop drugs to fight coronary artery or heart disease.

In the new study, Ghosh and colleagues have shown that increasing the CEH enzyme in the liver alone reduces the risk for heart disease in a preclinical model.

According to Ghosh, this study provides the final “proof-of-concept” that enhancing CEH-mediated hydrolysis of HDL delivered cholesteryl esters and thereby increasing the elimination of cholesterol from the body is indeed anti-atherogenic.

“Currently used therapies for reducing heart disease focus on decreasing plasma cholesterol levels and in recent years there is a change in paradigm to focus on flux and elimination of cholesterol from the body,” Ghosh said.

“The present study demonstrates the success of this approach and paves the way for the development of novel strategies for enhancing cholesterol elimination and reducing the risk for heart disease,” she said.

The research builds on her previous work, published in the October issue of the Journal of Lipid Research, which found that CEH in the liver is critical for enhancing cholesterol removal from the body and establishes its cooperation with HDL receptor in a preclinical model.

This work was supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, grant number HL-097346.

The Journal of Lipid Research is a publication of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Inc.

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