Danish researchers have identified a new receptor system located in all the cells in the body - a discovery that can be used to develop medicine that may act as an alternative to statins which are the most widely used cholesterol-reducing medication.

Called sortilin, the receptor has a decisive influence on the protein 'PCSK9' which is of great importance for the body's ability to deal with the harmful LDL cholesterol.

"We have attempted to find how 'PCSK9' protein moves in the cell. We now know of an important mechanism for how PCSK9 is released into the blood where it has its harmful effect on the amount of LDL cholesterol," explained Simon Glerup, associate professor from Aarhus University in Denmark.

The researchers discovered that there was yet another important element here, namely sortilin, which increases the activity of PCSK9."If we inhibit sortilin what we have seen is that this has the same effect as if we inhibit 'PCSK9' itself.

In other words, much less bad cholesterol. This opens the way for a completely new strategy for treating increased cholesterol," added Camilla Gustafsen from Aarhus University."All eyes have been on 'PCSK9' for a decade now. This new discovery contributes to the understanding of 'PCSK9' and can, at the same time, pave the way for a treatment that apparently has the same effect as PCSK9 inhibitors," emphasised Glerup.


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