Scientists at UCLA have developed a new genetically modified tomato to produce a peptide that impacts on cholesterol. Numerous studies have specified the side effects of low and high cholesterol on and that it can impact positively and negatively on different conditions. The was published in the Journal of Lipid .

The UCLA researchers involved found they could reduce the negative effects of lipids called unsaturated lysophosphaticidic acids (LPAs) that affect chronic arterial by feeding the the genetically engineered tomato that is designed to mimic HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

“These lipids may be a new culprit that we can target in the in fighting atherosclerosis,” said senior author Dr. Alan Fogelman, executive chair of the department of medicine and director of the atherosclerosis unit at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

The basis of the tomato genetic intervention relies on the production of a peptide called 6F that mimics the action of appA-1, the chief in HDL. The researchers found that adding LPAs to the diet of mice altered in the . The researchers did not test whether adding the genetically enhanced tomato to the mice diet altered , although the assumption is that it did as they found that the peptide prevented an increase in the level of LPAs in the and also stopped increases in “bad” cholesterol, decreases in “good” cholesterol and systemic . Tomatoes that did not contain the peptide had no effect.

The long term effects of the genetic manipulation on has not been evaluated.


M. Navab, G. Hough, G. M. Buga, F. Su, A. C. Wagner, D. Meriwether, A. Chattopadhyay, F. Gao, V. Grijalva, J. S. Danciger, B. J. Van Lenten, E. Org, A. J. Lusis, C. Pan, G. M. Anantharamaiah, R. Farias-Eisner, S. S. Smyth, S. T. Reddy, A. M. Fogelman. 6F tomatoes act on the to prevent systemic and dyslipidemia caused by and intestinally derived lysophosphatidic acid. The Journal of Lipid , 2013; 54 (12): 3403 DOI: 10.1194/jlr.M042051

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