Mac Linton, M.D.

Professor of Medicine

Dr. Stephen J. Schillig, Jr. and Mary Schillig Chair in Medicine

(615) 936-1656 (office)

Research Description

Dr. Linton is Director of the Vanderbilt Lipid Clinic in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Atherosclerosis Research Unit. His research programs involve basic science and clinical translational investigations of inherited disorders of lipoprotein metabolism, macrophage biology, and atherosclerosis. Dr. Linton’s early research focused on mutations in the APOB gene that cause inherited low levels of cholesterol. Dr. Linton pioneered the use of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) as an approach to investigate the impact of genes expressed by bone marrow-derived cells, including macrophages, on the development of atherosclerosis in murine models. A major focus of the laboratory is the role of macrophage cholesterol efflux, the first step in reverse cholesterol transport, in atherogenesis. We have a long-standing interest in the roles of apoE, apoA-I, SR-BI, and LRP in lipoprotein metabolism, macrophage cholesterol homeostasis and HDL function. The mechanism of formation of dysfunctional HDL in familial hypercholesterolemia is a focus of our current Program Project Grant on HDL Function in Human Disease. Dr. Linton has recently discovered a critical role for macrophage expression of SR-BI in autophagy in the setting of atherosclerosis.

Clinical Interest

Dr. Linton is Director of the Vanderbilt Lipid Clinic in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. The Vanderbilt Lipid Clinic (VLC) was started by Dr. Linton in September 1994. The VLC has become an established regional referral service for patients with dyslipidemia and increased coronary risk. The VLC has grown over the years from 2 physicians meeting on one half day a week to five physicians, two nurse practitioners and a nutritionist with over 2500 patient visits a year. A major focus is the management of dyslipidemia in adults and children with inherited disorders of lipoprotein metabolism, such as Familial Hypercholesterolemia. In addition, the VLC serves as a resource for clinical trials and translational research. Dr. Linton has been the PI at Vanderbilt for a number of investigator initiated studies and numerous clinical out comes studies over the years including Treating to New Targets and ILLUMINATE. The VLC is a place for training of Vanderbilt medical students, residents, and fellows, as well as outside nurses, physicians, and pharmacists. We are currently participating in a trial for gene-therapy for patients with homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia. Dr. Linton developed the LDL Apheresis program at Vanderbilt in collaboration with the Dialysis Center of the Vanderbilt University Hospital for management of patients with severe hypercholesterolemia, including patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, severe combined heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia or intolerance to lipid lowering medications. The program serves a relatively small number of patients but the procedure is life saving for them.

Selected Publications