Atherosclerosis, a component of heart disease, occurs with a build-up along the artery wall of fatty materials such as cholesterol. Numerous studies have suggested that high levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, “good”) cholesterol associates with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease Daniel J. Rader, from the University of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues have studied the role of cholesterol efflux capacity, a marker of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol function that serves as a direct measure of the efficiency by which a person's HDL removes cholesterol that accumulates in arterial plaque. The team measured cholesterol efflux capacity in 203 healthy subjects who underwent assessment of carotid artery intima-media thickness, a measure of arthrosclerosis. An inverse relationship was noted between cholesterol efflux capacity and carotid intima-media thickness both before and after adjustment for the HDL cholesterol level. After an age- and gender- adjusted analysis, increasing efflux capacity conferred decreased likelihood of having coronary artery disease. The researchers conclude that: “Cholesterol efflux capacity from macrophages, a metric of HDL function, has a strong inverse association with both carotid intima–media thickness and the likelihood of angiographic coronary artery disease, independently of the HDL cholesterol level. “
Amit V. Khera, Marina Cuchel, Margarita de la Llera-Moya, Amrith Rodrigues, Megan F. Burke, Kashif Jafri, Benjamin C. French, Julie A. Phillips, Megan L. Mucksavage, Robert L. Wilensky, Emile R. Mohler, George H. Rothblat, Daniel J. Rader. “Cholesterol Efflux Capacity, High-Density Lipoprotein Function, and Atherosclerosis.” N Engl J Med, January 13, 2011, 364: 127 – 135.
University of Pennsylvania (US) team reports that cholesterol efflux capacity is a reliable marker of atherosclerosis.
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