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Scientists tackle cholesterol control

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Scientists tackle cholesterol control

Researchers at the University’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health are investigating the role of an amino acid in cholesterol metabolism, with the aim of finding a new method of cholesterol control.

Isovalthine is an unusual sulphur amino acid, which has previously been reported to occur in the urine of humans suffering from conditions including hypothyroidism, hypercholesterolemia and severe diabetes mellitus. It is present in the urine of normal, healthy cats that consume a high fat diet, but it is not usually found in other species unless they have been treated with compounds that can ultimately form cholesterol.

The project, led by Dr Kay Rutherford-Markwick, aims to screen the urine of 200 volunteers with either thyroid deficiency, high levels of bad cholesterol or diabetes requiring medication to determine if humans do excrete isovalthine and if so to what extent isovalthine is present, the participant will be asked to have a blood sample taken for further testing of cholesterol, serum lipids and glucose.

Anyone interested in taking part in the study should contact Dr Rutherfurd-Markwick at


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