From Medical Xpress:

Several studies in recent years have shown that high cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of lesions in the brains of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the impact of HDL cholesterol—high-density lipoprotein, commonly referred to as “good” cholesterol—on the disease has not been clear.

Now, an international research team led by University at Buffalo researchers has found that HDL cholesterol protects the blood-brain barrier from injury in patients with MS.

“This finding is especially important because we found this protective effect very early in the disease,” explained lead author Murali Ramanathan, PhD, professor of in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and professor of neurology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.

The paper was published in August in the Journal of Lipid Research.

The role of HDL was the subject of a controlled, observational study of a group of MS patients who were followed for four years, following their first MS attack.

The findings are relevant not only to new treatments for MS. They also have the potential to be used to establish future lifestyle guidelines for preventing the disease.

“This is the first time that HDL cholesterol has been found to have such a clear benefit against the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier in MS patients,” said Ramanathan. That is important, he said, because the or “BBB” as it is known, plays a key role in the development of the brain lesions…

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