September 28, 2017 – Alcohol and Cholesterol


Anchor lead: What’s the relationship between alcohol consumption and blood cholesterol? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Does your consumption of alcohol impact your blood cholesterol levels, known to be important in cardiovascular disease? Research by Zach Kaminsky at Johns Hopkins and colleagues suggests the answer may be yes, via a protein made by the liver known as PCSK9.

Kaminsky: The liver is one of the primary organs that make PCSK9 that really help to regulate the body’s level of cholesterol or LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol. What’s important about this is that epigenetic patterns act like light switches to turn on and off genes. And so if alcohol is changing the epigenetic patterns, then alcohol could be regulating, through an epigenetic switch, the amount of this cholesterol regulating gene. And this has implications for cardiovascular health.   :30

PCSK9 inhibitors have been much in the news lately as they have been shown to further reduce blood cholesterol in those who are already taking statins, and epigenetics may explain how. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.