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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Mark Sarzynski wins $3.4 Million R01 Grant to Study Impact of Exercise on HDL Particles

Exercise science assistant professor and director of the Foundations of Lipids and Exercise (FLEX) Laboratory Dr. Mark Sarzynski (University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health) has been awarded $3.4 million from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. He will use the five-year R01 grant to examine the molecular basis of exercise-induced changes in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) function.

HDL is often referred to as “good” cholesterol because HDL particles carry cholesterol from various parts of the body to the liver where the cholesterol is then removed. These HDL particles have many other cardiovascular protective functions – partly due to the molecular composition of the particles. Specifically, they inhibit vascular inflammation and reduce oxidative stress.

Researchers have observed that various diseases are accompanied by impaired HDL function and composition. Further, measures of HDL function serve as strong, independent predictors of cardiovascular disease risk.

Prior studies in the FLEX lab have also demonstrated that exercise training improves HDL function in a dose-specific manner. With Dr. Sarzynski’s new study, he will determine the amount and intensity (i.e., dose) and type (e.g., aerobic vs strength vs combination) of exercise that improves HDL function. He will also identify the molecules underlying these functional changes.

“Previous research suggests that HDL function is mediated by the molecules bound to HDL particles, which include proteins, lipids, and microRNAs,” Dr. Sarzynski says.

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