Tengku Sifzizul Tengku Muhammad, Noraznawati Ismail, Habsah Mohamad, Faridah Mohamad, Aziz Ahmad, Mariam Taib and Asnuzilawati Asari
Institute of Marine Biotechnology, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of cardiovascular diseases and remains the leading cause of death worldwide. One of the major risk factors of atherosclerosis is hypercholesterolaemia. One of the common treatments is to reduce the levels of cholesterol by inhibiting its synthesis using statin-based drugs. However, these drugs produce adverse side effects such as liver and muscle breakdown. Reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) is a pathway that transports cholesterol from extrahepatic cells to the liver for excretion. By reducing the accumulation of cholesterol in blood and cells present in the vessel walls, RCT may prevent the development of atherosclerosis. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is an important molecule that is responsible in reverse-transporting cholesterol to the liver. The cholesterol-rich HDL delivers and deposits cholesterol to the liver via scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-B1) located on the surface of liver cells. Therefore, SR-B1 forms an interesting target for therapeutic intervention against atherosclerosis. In this paper, I will discuss an effort by our marine drug discovery group in investigating the potential compounds from marine natural resources that increased the transcription and translocation of SR-B1 to plasma membrane of liver cells, and, subsequently reduced the levels of serum cholesterol.