Health news

The molecular sensor on serotonin receptor to detect cholesterol

New Delhi, July 28th: Cells communicate with each other via receptor proteins expressed on the cell membranes. Many drugs target these receptor proteins to alter cell’s functioning and physiology. However, the latest study from Prof Amitabha Chattopadhyay’s lab at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) makes a case for accounting for the lipid environment that surrounds the receptor proteins, while designing drugs acting on the latter. The lab had earlier found that the serotonin receptors are sensitive to cholesterol surrounding them. In the new study published in Science Advances, they report a sensor region on human serotonin1A receptor that can detect cholesterol. They looked at specific regions called CRAC motifs in the receptor. These are believed to interact with cholesterol. The researchers carefully replaced specific amino acids in the CRAC motifs of the serotonin1A receptor and identified a particular amino acid responsible for the cholesterol-sensitive function of the receptor.  The researchers collaborated with Dr Jana Selent’s group from Pompeu Fabra University Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain to visualize the protein-cholesterol interaction via computer-aided molecular dynamics simulations. This helped them predict how the specific amino acid on the CRAC motif enables the receptor to sense changes in cholesterol levels by controlling molecular motion in certain regions of the receptor, says the CSIR-CCMB statement. “These findings are important since cholesterol levels change in our cells with age and in many disease conditions.  We believe our work will help in developing better drugs that keep in mind not just the receptor as the drug target, but also the lipid environment in which the receptor is present”, explained Prof Chattopadhyay. “Our expertise in structural biology at CCMB is key towards a physical understanding of cells and their functions. This not only adds to the detailed view of living cells but also have immense potential in therapeutics development”, said Dr Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CCMB. (India Science Wire) Topics: Molecular, sensor, serotonin, receptor, cholesterol, Cells, receptor proteins, cell membranes, drug target, physiology CSIR-CCMB, drug designing

Health news

Generic cholesterol drugs save Medicare billions of dollars, study finds

Between 2014 and 2018, the number of Medicare beneficiaries on cholesterol drugs went up, but total costs plummeted. DALLAS – Sept. 9, 2020 – The switch from brand name to generic cholesterol medications that occurred between 2014 and 2018 has saved Medicare billions of dollars, even as the number of people on cholesterol-lowering drugs has increased, UT Southwestern scientists have calculated. Their data, published in the journal JAMA Cardiology, suggest that policymakers and clinicians could help cut Medicare costs even further by switching more patients to generic drugs. “One of the most important contributors to our health care costs is expenditure on prescription drugs,” says Ambarish Pandey, M.D., a cardiologist and assistant professor of internal medicine at UTSW. “The switch to generics is an effective strategy to cut the costs incurred by health systems.” Who is Dr. Ambarish Pandey? Dr. Pandey is originally from India and received his initial medical training at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India. Drawn by the research and academic opportunities in the United States, he completed post-doctoral training in Nanomedicine at the Brigham and Women Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. He subsequently completed internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship training, and Master of Science in Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas. Dr Pandey brings to UTSW a strong background in general cardiology, epidemiology, and clinical research. He currently specializes in general cardiology with a focus on cardiovascular disease prevention. Dr Pandey’s interests outside of medicine include his family, cricket, and movies. Pandey is considered a thought leader in how to leverage information gleaned from electronic health records and other health databases. Dr Ambarish Pandey was named a Texas Health Resources Clinical Scholar in 2018 and has previously published papers on how much extended-release drugs cost the U.S. health care system, the burden of heart failure and heart attack-associated hospital readmission and mortality in the Medicare population, and the development of novel strategies to predict and prevent heart failure in this population, among other topics. “It’s important for our health care system to find avenues to become more cost-efficient…