Scientists have identified a molecular pathway to lower cholesterol and clotting using statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, reveals a study.
People with high cholesterol are at risk of stroke because their plaque laden arteries can rupture, triggering blood clots and cutting off blood supply to the heart or brain.
The researchers at the University of North Carolina have found how statins can induce a reduction in blood clotting and cholesterol.
The research was based on humans, monkeys and mice with highly elevated blood lipid levels. It found that elevated levels of oxidized low density lipoprotein (LDL) induces a molecule called tissue factor that triggers clotting, the Journal of Clinical Investigation reported.
Lipids are the cholesterol (type of fat) and triglycerides in our blood. Some of it, HDL (high density lipoprotein) can actually protect against heart disease. While LDL is the bad form of cholesterol, high levels are linked with an elevated risk of heart disease, according to a university statement.
“Statins have been shown to have antithrombotic (clotting) activity in several previous studies. However, I believe our study is the first to elucidate how statins reduce the activation of the blood clotting process independently of their lipid lowering activity,” said Nigel Mackman, professor of hematology.
Statins only target the bad, not the good cholesterol, he noted.