High plasma concentrations of low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) are a well-accepted risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and the statin class of hypolipidemic drugs has emerged as an effective means of lowering LDL-C and reducing CVD risk. In contrast, the role of plasma high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in protection against atherosclerotic vascular disease is the subject of considerable controversy. Although the inverse correlation between plasma HDL-C and CVD is widely acknowledged, reduction of CVD risk by interventions that increase HDL-C have not been uniformly successful. Several studies of large populations have shown that the first step in reverse cholesterol transport (RCT), the transfer of cholesterol from the subendothelial space of the arterial wall via the plasma compartment to the liver for disposal, is impaired in patients with CVD. Here we review HDL function, the mechanisms by which HDL supports RCT, and the role of RCT in preventing CVD.
- cardiovascular disease
- macrophage cholesterol efflux
- metabolic syndrome
- reverse cholesterol transport
ASJC Scopus subject areas