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Researchers Find Connection Between Cholesterol Levels And Immune System

March 8, 2011: 10:55 AM EST
An immune system hormone that is activated when a viral infection takes hold actually lowers cholesterol levels in the body, depriving harmful pathogens of the nourishment needed to grow, a multinational team of researchers has found. The findings shed light for the first time on the connection between immune system mechanisms and cholesterol levels. Because viruses and certain bacteria rely on cholesterol for sustenance, curbing the body’s production of cholesterol might reduce the opportunity for pathogens to flourish. According to the researchers, the findings suggest a possibility that cholesterol lowering drugs may strengthen the immune system, offering an alternative to antibiotics for battling bacterial infections.
Mathieu Blanc, et al., "Host Defense against Viral Infection Involves Interferon Mediated Down-Regulation of Sterol Biosynthesis", PlosOne, March 08, 2011, © Creative Commons Attribution License
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