High cholesterol diet helps mice against fatal genetic disease
Early studies in mice have revealed that a high cholesterol diet may help people against a fatal genetic disease, known to damage the brain.
Production of a fatty sheath around the nerves is essential for function and people suffering from a genetic disease called Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease fails to produce that.
The recent study suggested that that a high-cholesterol diet could increase its production.
The mice "improved dramatically" said the authors.
Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD) is a gene linked rare, progressive, degenerative central nervous system disorder in which coordination, motor abilities, and intellectual function deteriorate. Also known as leukodystrophies,it affects the growth of the myelin sheath - the fatty covering that wraps around and protects nerve fibers in the brain.
In absence of the sheath, messages fails to travel down the nerve that results in a series of problems including movement and cognition.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, in Germany, performed a trial test on mice suffering from the disease and provided them a high cholesterol diet to eat. The first test was done when the mice were six weeks old and shown the symptoms of PMD.
The mice that were fed with a normal diet got worse with the symptoms, while those fed a cholesterol-enriched diet were seen stabilised.
"This six-week-long cholesterol treatment delayed the decline in motor co-ordination," the BBC quoted the scientists as saying.
The research also suggested that that an early morning diet was more, leading the researchers to a conclusion that in mice "treatment should begin early in life and continue into adulthood".
Hence, the present study was based on mice, it?s still not clear that whether the same results will come out with humans too, if so then how much time will it take to start the treatment effectively.
"Dietary cholesterol does not cure PMD, but has a striking potential to relieve defects," the authors of the report said.
Cholesterol is known to clean up a "traffic jam" inside cells in the brain.
The disease is caused as a result of production of excess of a protein needed in myelin, which stuck inside the cells. It is believed that the extra cholesterol helps to free up the protein.
The findings of the study were recently published in Nature Medicine.
-With inputs from ANI
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