Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Brown, Michael Stuart
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US geneticist who was awarded a Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1985, together with Joseph Goldstein, for their work on the regulation of cholesterol metabolism. They discovered that individuals with inherited high cholesterol levels have either low levels or deficient forms of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDL-receptor) involved in the removal of cholesterol from the blood. The discovery led to the development of new drugs that lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Brown and Goldstein studied why some individuals have high levels of cholesterol in their blood and found that this susceptibility to hypercholesterolaemia can be inherited in some families. They showed that cholesterol is normally removed from the blood by the binding of cholesterol-carrying molecules, called low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) to specific receptors (LDL-receptors) on the surface of cells in the body. The resulting LDL-receptor complexes are then absorbed by the cells. They further demonstrated that this uptake inhibits the cells' production of new LDL-receptors, which explains why a diet of high-cholesterol foods can overwhelm the body's natural capacity for removing cholesterol from the blood.

Brown was born in New York in the USA. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966 and worked as a junior doctor at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he met and became friends with Goldstein. They were reunited and started to work together when Brown was appointed assistant professor at the Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas, in 1971.

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article Brown, Michael Stuart (1941–)
Encyclopedia of Global Health

Michael Stuart Brown is an American geneticist who, along with Joseph L. Goldstein, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1985 for a...

Full text Article Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor (LDLR)
The Animated Pocket Dictionary of Cholesterol

Low density lipoprotein receptors are present on outer surface of many types of cells. LDLRs bind with LDLs which carry cholesterol in the...

Full text Article Familial hypercholesterolemia
The Animated Pocket Dictionary of Cholesterol

Familial hypercholesterolemia is the most common form of inherited hypercholesterolemia that arises due to mutations in the Low Density...

See more from Credo