US researchers have made a breakthrough that could enable them to develop drugs to lower the risk of diseases associated with high cholesterol, including Alzheimer's disease and atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries.
Scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that SIRT1 stops cholesterol accumulating by activating a pathway that removes cholesterol from the body via high density lipoprotein or 'good cholesterol'.
Senior author Dr Leonard Guarente said: "SIRT1 is an important mediator of cholesterol efflux, and as such it's predicted to play a role in the development of age-associated diseases where cholesterol is a contributing factor."
Dr Guarente said that potential drugs could be created with polyphenols, which are found in red wine and have been shown to increase SIRT1.
The levels in red wine are not large enough to have a significant impact on cholesterol, he added.
In earlier studies, high levels of SIRT1 were achieved by extreme calorie restriction.
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