High cholesterol also linked to cancer
New research suggests that high cholesterol may lead to more than just heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis. A study has found that it appears to activate a cellular signaling pathway linked to cancer.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago focused on signaling pathways, which cells use to carry out their activities. A particular pathway encourages cell growth and division, which is an important part of developing embryonic cells. But in mature cells, overactivity of this pathway is thought to promote cancer development.
During the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers found that a particular protein was a binding site for cholesterol. They determined that when cholesterol binds to this protein, it sends signals down a pathway which encourages cell growth and division and that can lead to cancer. Without cholesterol, this type of signaling would not happen.