Why good cholesterol may NOT always protect you from heart disease

Herbs and Helpers

Good cholesterol( HDL) reduces inflammation in some parts of the body
But a new analyse demonstrates HDL increases inflammation in some immune cells

Researchers caution this inflammation could counteract any other benefits

We are hounded with advice to embrace’ healthy fats’ that will boost our’ good’ cholesterol levels to protect our hearts.

But according to new research, the benefits may not be as strong as we have been led to believe.

Recent clinical trials looking at the relationship between high-density lipoprotein( HDL) levels and heart function have created disappointing results.

In fact, the researchers received HDL – widely known as’ good cholesterol’- increases the inflammatory answer of certain immune cells called macrophages.

And while HDL seems to be good for other parts of the body, the scientists caution this inflammation could counteract the benefits.

Avocados have been touted as a savior for your heart since they drive up your high levels of good cholesterol. But a new analyse advises’ good cholesterol'( HDL) could also do some damage

‘A main take-home message of our study is that HDL’s functions are not as simple as initially supposed, and appear to critically depend on the target tissue and cell kind ,’ analyse writer Marjo Donners, of Maastricht University, said.

‘In the end, it is the balance between its pro- and anti-inflammatory impacts that decides clinical outcome.’

HDL’s reputation as the’ good cholesterol’ was earned over decades of research in humen and animals.

High HDL levels have shown to lower one’s hazard of atherosclerosis- an inflammatory illnes that causes plaque to build up inside of arteries.

It does this by blocking inflammation in two important vascular wall cells: endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells.

Low-density lipoprotein( LDL) deposits cholesterol in vessel walls, and is thus known as’ bad cholesterol’.

Conversely, HDL removes cholesterol and transports it toward the liver for degradation.

However, in macrophages, HDL can have a damaging effect.

Macrophages are key immune cells contributing to the inflammation that characterizes atherosclerosis.

Surprisingly, this is one of the first studies to comprehensively analyse the effect of HDL on the inflammatory answer in macrophages.

In the paper, published in Cell Metabolism on Thursday, Donners and Emiel van der Vorst tackled the murky issue.

To their surprise, they found that HDL boosted inflammation in macrophages.

Macrophages taken from mice with elevated HDL levels proved clear signs of inflammation.

However, there was some good news: this inflammation process helped lungs’ resistance against pathogens.

Donners says these findings show patients with low immune systems could still benefit from boosting their HDL levels.

However, several analyse limitations complicate clinical interpretations.

For one, such studies focused on acute inflammatory responses rather than the chronic inflammatory conditions that characterize cardiovascular diseases.

The inflammation HDL causes in immune cells could counteract other benefits

Moreover, the researchers did not examine macrophages specifically in atherosclerotic tissue.

‘Whether HDL exerts beneficial or detrimental effects on the macrophage in a complex micro-environment, such as the atherosclerotic plaque, remains to be determined ,’ Donners said.

The answer to this question may depend on illnes stage and the net effect on all vascular wall cells.

‘For instance, in early atherosclerosis, a proper macrophage answer could result in guys more efficient scavenging and elimination of lipids and cellular debris, which may alleviate illnes, whereas at later stages, such magnified responses may be detrimental because they destabilize the plaque ,’ Donners said.

‘Moreover, the overt anti-inflammatory impacts in other cell types should be taken into account, and it is the balance between these opposite effects of HDL that will determine clinical outcome for cardiovascular disease patients.’

This research could lead to the development of cell-specific therapies that exploit the benefits of HDL-targeted therapies while avoiding the side effects.

‘Future surveys will have to evaluate the delicate balance of HDL’s cell-specific impacts in humen and in various pathologies to get more insights and to develop and improve therapeutic strategies ,’ Donners said.

Source: Daily Mail

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