For researchers, there is a great interest in identifying new therapeutic applications for the existing class of drugs, now, Duke Scientists choose Statins, cholesterol lowering drugs.
Article from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, gave a new insight for Dennis C. Ko (assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University School of Medicine) to understand the mechanisms that govern human susceptibility for various infectious diseases, particularly Salmonella bacteria, that uses cholesterol of cell membranes to infect host cells.
As a first step, Ko and his team conducted studies on human cell lines by exposing them to green fluorescent tagged Salmonella typhi and observed differences in bacterial invasion rates between cell lines. Researches had already found that a single nucleotide of DNA in VAC14 gene is associated with bacterial invasions.
By knocking out this VAC14 gene, researchers observed an equal rate of bacterial invasion. Unexpectedly, they also observed that a higher rate of invasion was associated in the cell lines with high cholesterol levels.
Considering the cholesterol levels, Monica Alvarez, researcher at Ko lab, run an experiment on zebra-fish by adding cholesterol lowering drug (Ezetimibe or Zetia) to the waters and injected the fish with Salmonella typhi. She found that fishes in drug treated water are very less susceptible for infection compared to the non-treated.
Considering this mechanism, Ko said that, identifying such new therapeutic applications for the existing class of drugs will lead us to a step ahead in research.