News in brief

Better dosing of “good cholesterol” for greater efficacy

12 Aug 2013 | By Inserm (Newsroom) | Circulation, metabolism, nutrition

The measurement of cholesterol levels in an organism during medical analyses has become routine in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. In reality, the cholesterol levels are the result of a balance in the human body between “good” (HDL) cholesterol and “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. If this balance is threatened and tilts too far towards “bad cholesterol”, the risk of cardiovascular diseases increases. Conversely, a high HDL-cholesterol level has a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases.


crédit : ©Fotolia

Although researchers thought they could easily recognise HDL particles, there were, in fact, a heterogeneous mixture of extremely complex particles that were hard to study.

Very recent work has come to the conclusion that it is not a matter of having a high level of HDL-cholesterol to be protected against cardiovascular diseases, the HDL particles also need to be functional and thus capable of exercising their protective action on the body (elimination of excess cholesterol as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxydant, anti-thrombotic and cytoprotective properties). For example, in diabetic patients, the HDL particles are dysfunctional because their composition is altered in comparison with those in healthy individuals.

Inserm researchers (UMR Inserm/ University of Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier 1048 “Institute of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases” and 1027 “ Epidemiology and public health analyses: risks, chronic conditions and disabilities”) discuss in The journal of lipid research the discovery of a new blood marker (IF1) associated with HDL-cholesterol and that takes account of the correct “functioning” of HDL particles.

The analysis performed on 648 patients suffering from cardiovascular disease (aged between 45 and 74) and 669 people in a control group showed that the detection of IF1 in the blood reveals the presence of functional HDL particles. The amount present would make it possible to improve early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and thus optimise existing or future therapeutic strategies designed to increase the amount of good cholesterol.

This work was the subject of an international patent in 2013 involving the early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (patent filed by INSERM-transfert).

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Researcher Contact

Laurent Martinez, PhD 

Institut des maladies métaboliques et cardiovasculaires

05 31 22 41 47


Serum IF1 concentration is independently associated to HDL levels and to coronary heart disease: the GENES study
Annelise Genoux1,2, Jean-Bernard Ruidavets3, Jean Ferrières3,4, Guillaume Combes1,2, Laeticia Lichtenstein1,2, Véronique Pons1,2, Muriel Laffargue1,2, Dorota Taraszkiewicz3, Didier Carrié4, Meyer Elbaz4, Bertrand Perret1,2,§, Laurent O. Martinez1,2,§
Journal of Lipid Research