Synthetic HDL cholesterol with gold at its core to control bad cholesterol

Synthetic HDL cholesterol with gold at its core to control bad cholesterolA high cholesterol level is one of the major problems created by sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits. Recent research has given hope of effective cholesterol control with the new weapon - synthetic high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the 'good' cholesterol.

Researchers believe it could fight chronically high cholesterol levels and the deadly heart disease that often results due to higher cholestrol.

Research team led by Chad Mirkin of Northwestern University in Chicago and Shad Thaxton of Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine designed synthetic HDL.

Researchers placed a gold nanoparticle as the core of HDL which was then layered on a lipid that attaches to the gold surface, then another lipid and last a protein, called APOA1, the main protein component of naturally occurring HDL. The final high-density lipoprotein nanoparticles are each about 18 nanometres in diameter, a size similar to natural HDL.

Shad Thaxton, M.D., assistant professor of urology in Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine said: 'Cholesterol is essential to our cells, but chronic excess can lead to dangerous plaque formation in our arteries. HDL transports cholesterol to the liver, which protects against atherosclerosis. Our hope is that, with further development, our synthetic form of HDL could be used to increase HDL levels and promote better health.'