A key to aortic valve disease prevention: Lowering cholesterol early

October 26, 2014

A key to aortic valve disease prevention: Lowering cholesterol early

Montreal, Sunday 26, 2014 - An international research team led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and Lund University has provided new evidence that aortic valve disease may be preventable. Their findings show that so-called "bad" cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) is a cause of aortic valve disease - a serious heart condition that affects around five million people in North America and is the most common cause for valve replacement. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Vancouver, could have major implications in the prevention of heart valve disease, a condition that currently has no known medical therapy.

"Many people have elevations in LDL-C, normally putting them at risk for heart attacks and strokes," says senior author and RI-MUHC researcher Dr. George Thanassoulis, who is also the MUHC Director of Preventive and Genomic Cardiology and an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. "We found that additionally, these people are also at risk for developing aortic valve disease."

The study involved approximately 35,000 participants in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genetic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium - a large international collaborative. Researchers discovered that genetic predisposition to elevated LDL-C was associated with the presence of aortic valve calcium and narrowing of the aortic valve; thus supporting a causal association between LDL-C and aortic valve disease.

"Prior research has suggested a link between LDL-C and aortic valve disease but randomized trials of cholesterol lowering performed in patients with advanced disease did not show any benefit in slowing the progression of valve disease," explains first author, Dr. J. Gustav Smith from the Department of Cardiology at Lund University. "Our work provides confirmation that cholesterol is an important factor in the early stages of aortic valve disease and suggests that lowering cholesterol early in the disease process may provide protection from the development of aortic valve disease."

"Our next step calls for new randomized trials, maybe using one of several new LDL lowering agents, in the earliest stages of valve disease before we are able to confirm our hypothesis," concludes Dr. Thanassoulis.
About the Study

The manuscript will be available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com

The research team from the McGill University Health Centre was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Quebec and the Fonds de Recherche du Quebec - Santé (FRQS).

The paper Association of Low Density Lipoprotein-Cholesterol Related Genetic Variants with Aortic Valve Calcium and Incident Aortic Stenosis was co-authored by a research teams from Lund University, Malmö (Sweden); University of Iceland, Reykjavik, (Iceland); University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; UCLA, Los Angeles, California; Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; National Institute of Aging, Bethesda, Maryland; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and NHLBI/Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, Massachusetts; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and McGill University, Montreal (Canada).

Related Links

McGill University Health Centre

Related Cholesterol Articles from Brightsurf:

Cholesterol's effects on cellular membranes
The findings have far-reaching implications in the general understanding of disease, the design of drug delivery methods, and many other biological applications that require specific assumptions about the role of cholesterol in cell membranes.

Autism-cholesterol link
Study identifies genetic link between cholesterol alterations and autism.

Microbes might manage your cholesterol
Researchers discover a link between human blood cholesterol levels and a gene in the microbiome that could one day help people manage their cholesterol through diet, probiotics, or entirely new types of treatment.

Experimental cholesterol-lowering drug effective at lowering bad cholesterol, study shows
Twice-yearly injections of an experimental cholesterol-lowering drug, inclisiran, were effective at reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often called bad cholesterol, in patients already taking the maximum dose of statin drugs, according to data of the ORION-10 trial presented Saturday, Nov.

Rethinking how cholesterol is integrated into cells
Cholesterol is best known in connection with cardiovascular disease, but cholesterol is also vital for many fundamental processes in the body.

Seed oils are best for LDL cholesterol
Using a statistical technique called network meta-analysis, researchers have combined the results of dozens of studies of dietary oils to identify those with the best effect on patients' LDL cholesterol and other blood lipids.

Cholesterol leash: Key tethering protein found to transport cellular cholesterol
Cholesterol is an essential component of living organisms, but the mechanisms that transport cholesterol inside the cell are poorly understood.

New way to treat cholesterol may be on the horizon
A breakthrough discovery by scientists at Houston Methodist Research Institute could change the way we treat cholesterol.

How low should LDL cholesterol go?
New analysis shows that in a high-risk population, achieving ultra-low LDL cholesterol levels, down to <10 mg/dL, safely results in additional lowering of risk of cardiovascular events.

Does boosting 'good' cholesterol really improve your health?
A new review addresses the mysteries behind 'good' HDL cholesterol and why boosting its levels does not necessarily provide protection from cardiovascular risk for patients.

Read More: Cholesterol News and Cholesterol Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.