Cholesterol and Steroids That Your Body Really Needs
Your body adapts to its environment, maintains a stable internal environment for itself, and both grows and can reproduce itself. All of these functions depend on what are know as eukaryotic steroid hormones. Only a few tissues are able to make these steroid hormones from cholesterol.
Dr. Vassilios Papadopoulos wants to understand how the adrenal glands, gonads and brain make these steroids, and he wants a clearer picture of the role they play in health and disease.
As Canada Research Chair in Biochemical Pharmacology, Papadopoulos wants to see how cholesterol gets into mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouse) and how it influences the rate at which steroids form and the way that mitochondrial membranes form. Changes in these functions could cause disease in tissues that affect the entire body.
With this information in hand, we can develop new tools to treat diseases caused by steroid levels that are too high or too low. We might even find ways to manipulate the body’s steroids to stop diseases before they start or before they get too far along. This research will have a direct impact on our understanding of reproduction and development, stress-related disorders, aging and brain-related dysfunction, and cancer.