Disruption of tiny liver protein can cause heart disease: Study

13 June 2016

Scientists have identified a tiny liver protein that can cause cardiovascular disease as also fatty liver disease, a precursor to cancer, when disrupted, IANS reported.

The Journal of Biological Chemistry has published a study by Shadab Siddiqi from University of Central Florida who identified a tiny protein - called a Small Valosin-Containing Protein Interacting Protein (SVIP) - that regulated how much VLDL was secreted into the blood.  'SVIP in the liver must be regulated properly to ensure optimum health,' IANS quoted Siddiqi as saying.

Lipoproteins (VLDL) are crucial for healthy liver function but their secretion must be kept in a delicate balance as too little VLDL secretion caused fatty liver and, potentially, liver cancer. Lipoproteins were also known to cause increase cholesterol levels to increase which was a risk factor for buildup of plaque in the arteries.

He likens the operation of the tiny protein to a manually operated car. ''To run smoothly, the driver must synchronise the gas pedal and the clutch. If the two aren't synchronised, the car doesn't move easily; it has fits and starts and ultimately stalls,'' he said.

The study also says that high levels of myristic acid in the diet - through animal and dairy fats - kept SVIP from properly regulating the liver's secretion of VLDL. ''These findings suggest that our diet modulates the complex molecular processes that have profound effects on our health and lifespan,'' Siddiqi explained.

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