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Researchers Discover Protein Important For Protection Against Saturated Fat

December 1, 2010: 11:19 AM EST

A study led by Dutch scientists has found that a protein called Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (Angptl4) protects animals and perhaps people whose diets are high in saturated fat from a massive inflammatory response that is potentially fatal. Deficiencies in this protective pathway in mice that ate a lot of saturated fat led to a significant swelling of the lymph nodes and death. Dietary fats are normally broken down into fatty acids that are metabolized by the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL) to feed various tissues. LPL activity, however, depends on Angptl4. The findings may have implications for the three percent of humans who carry a mutation in the Angptl4 gene and “may be particularly sensitive to the proinflammatory effects of dietary saturated fat," the researchers wrote.

L. Lichtenstein, et al., "Angptl4 Protects against Severe Proinflammatory Effects of Saturated Fat by Inhibiting Fatty Acid Uptake into Mesenteric Lymph Node Macrophages", Cell Metabolism, December 01, 2010, © Elsevier Inc..
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