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Washing out cholesterol.

Washing out cholesterol

In the bloodstream, low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) play the guys in the black hats: These cholesterol-carrying particles are associated with atherosclerosis, whereas their cousins, high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), are believed to exert an equally strong anti-atherosclerosis effect.

Scientists attempting to lower cholesterol levels have to be careful that they lower only the LDL level and not the HDL level. Researchers from New York City's Rockefeller University, Rogosin Institute and New York Hospital-Cornell Medical College evaluating an experimental LDL-removal process have now found that it raises the HDL level at the same time.

The experimental process, called LDL-pheresis, involves drawing blood from a patient, running it through a device that strips out the LDL and returning the blood to the patient. The technique was developed by Wilhelm Stoffel of West Germany.

The researchers "washed" the blood of five patients who have genetically mediated high LDL levels that can lead to early heart attacks. They found that when they decreased the LDL levels, the HDL levels increased in four of the five.

Understanding how LDL-pheresis raises HDL levels may suggest less technically complicated ways to increase HDL levels in others at risk of heart disease, says Rogosin Institute's Thomas S. Parker, one of five researchers on the project. "If we can find out what it is that's raising HDL levels in our patients," he says, "then we can try to find a simple way to mimic it."
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Title Annotation:removing low-density lipoproteins from bloodstream
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 15, 1986
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