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Beware: Your high cholesterol can lead to bone loss

High cholesterol, which is a known factor for the decrease in heart health may harm more than our cardiovascular systems and lead to bone loss, say researchers including one of Indian-origin.

health and fitness Updated: Oct 16, 2016 17:12 IST
High cholesterol

The new research conducted using animal models suggests that high levels of cholesterol can trigger mitochondrial oxidative stress on cartilage cells -- connective tissue -- causing them to die.(Pinterest)

High cholesterol, which is a known factor for the decrease in heart health may harm more than our cardiovascular systems and lead to bone loss, say researchers including one of Indian-origin.

The new research conducted using animal models suggests that high levels of cholesterol can trigger mitochondrial oxidative stress on cartilage cells -- connective tissue -- causing them to die.

This may ultimately lead to the development of osteoarthritis -- a type of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down, said Indira Prasadam, a researcher at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.

For the study, Prasadam and her team used two different animal models to mimic human hypercholesterolemia.

The first was a mouse model that had an altered gene called Apolipoprotein E that made the animals hypercholesteremic.

The other was a rat model, and the animals were fed a high-cholesterol diet, causing diet-induced hypercholesterolemia.

Both models were fed a high-cholesterol diet or control normal diet, after which they underwent a surgery that mimics knee injuries in people and was designed to bring on osteoarthritis.

Both the mice and the rats that were subjected to surgery and fed with high-cholesterol diets showed more severe osteoarthritis development than seen in the normal diet group.

However, when both the mice and the rats were exposed to the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin and mitochondrion-targeted antioxidants, the development of osteoarthritis was markedly decreased in relation to the untreated groups.

This study tested the potential therapeutic role of mitochondria targeting antioxidants in high-cholesterol-induced osteoarthritis, the researchers said.

“Our team has already begun working alongside dieticians to try to educate the public about healthy eating and how to keep cholesterol levels at a manageable level that won’t damage joints,” Prasadam said.

The research was published online in The FASEB Journal.

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