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Atheroprotective Effects of HDL: Beyond Reverse Cholesterol Transport

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The risk of atherosclerosis is inversely related to circulating levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Notably, in large-scale epidemiologic studies, this association is independent of plasma levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Pharmacologic agents, such as fibrates and niacin that increase HDL cholesterol levels have been associated with decreased cardiovascular events and beneficial effects on the coronary and carotid arteries. Furthermore, there is evidence that the risk of restenosis following vascular interventions is inversely related to HDL levels. This review considers the available data from mainly murine models on potential mechanisms by which HDL may exert these anti-atherogenic effects, namely through its role in reverse cholesterol transport, its effects on endothelial cells, and its anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidant activities. In addition to discussing a role for HDL in retarding atherosclerosis progression, we will also review how HDL may play a role in promoting regression of atherosclerotic lesions.

Keywords: HDL; atherosclerosis; coronary artery disease; endothelium; inflammation; macrophage; regression; reverse cholesterol transport

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.

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