Bad cholesterol activates signaling pathway that promotes cancer

Bad cholesterol activates signaling pathway that promotes cancer

  • Healthy living is about being educated on the latest health news so you can take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe.
  • Hardening of the arteries, also called atherosclerosis, is a common disorder. It occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries and form hard structures called plaques. It is never too early to check your cholesterol levels and do something about it.
  • Researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago have found a new role for cholesterol in activating a cellular signaling pathway that has been associated with cancer.
  • The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.
  • Human cells use thousands of signaling pathways to function correctly. One of these pathways that promotes cells growth is called Canonical Wnt .
    This pathway is most active during the developmental stages of cells. Excessive activity of this pathway is believed to be a major factor in the development of cancer.
  • Our research points to a new regulatory role for cholesterol, and also presents an exciting new therapeutic target for suppressing canonical Wnt signaling to treat or prevent cancer,” explained Wonhwa Cho, professor of chemistry at University of Illinois and lead investigator of the study.
  • Cho and his team started the study to search for new cholesterol-binding proteins when they discovered a binding site for cholesterol on a protein named Dishevelled.
  • Dishevelled is involved in signaling, which deals with movements of cells and organization. Dishevelled is like a switch that directs signals.
  • Once we realized that cholesterol is able to bind specifically to Dishevelled, we became interested in cholesterol as a potential determinant of which of the Wnt signaling pathways gets activated,” Cho said.
  • The team found that without cholesterol, canonical Wnt signaling cannot happen.
  • They also noticed that an increase of cholesterol within cells seemed to promote signaling. This finding may explain why cholesterol can increase risk of cancer.
  • We know that things like high-fat diets, which boost cholesterol levels, have been linked to an elevated incidence of cancer,” Cho said. “Our research provides a mechanism for how cholesterol promotes pathways that lead to cancer,” Cho added.
  • It also reveals a possible target for treatment. A drug that interferes with the binding of cholesterol to Dishevelled may treat cancers that are driven by canonical Wnt signaling. Some of these cancers are colon cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, and lung cancer.
  • Take a healthy step, get your cholesterol levels checked.
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  • For more on how to manage your cholesterol download the managing Cholesterol reference summary.
  • For the top 5 foods to lower Cholesterol.
  • For a cholesterol health mango smoothie.
  • For 12 tips to lower cholesterol.
  • 6 essential herbs to lower your cholesterol naturally.
  • Eating more fish can increase good cholesterol levels.
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