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Structure, metabolism and physiologic functions of high-density lipoproteins

Several experimental, clinical and epidemiological researches have shown the incontestable causal relationship between low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) plasma concentrations and cardiovascular pathology on an atherosclerotic basis. Low HDL levels characterize about 10% of the general population and they represent the most frequent dyslipidemia in patients with coronary artery disease. Reduced HDL concentrations would be unable to effectively eliminate the cholesterol excess at the vascular wall, contributing to the inflammatory phenomenon that characterizes the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis since its initial phases. Results of numerous studies reasonably allow supposing that HDL is able to exert, also directly, anti-inflammatory actions through the modulation of expression of diverse acute phase proteins. Furthermore, HDL also exerts several other atheroprotective effects, such as antioxidants affects, inhibition of platelets aggregation and monocytes migration. This paper is a review on recent literature data about HDL metabolism and its role in the prevention of coronary artery disease.

HDL; Coronary arterial disease; Reverse cholesterol transport

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