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Curr Opin Lipidol. 2010 Aug;21(4):346-51. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e32833c1f41.

Effects of ethanol intake on lipoproteins and atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Genetics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA.



This article reviews published studies regarding effects of ethanol intake on lipoprotein levels and function as they relate to atherosclerosis, with special emphasis on recent publications in the past 2 years.


Some recent studies have explored novel mechanisms of ethanol on atherogenesis via effects on HDL composition and function. Other studies have focused on changes in levels of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), triglyceride, and other factors such as inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (LpPLA2). Other areas of emphasis have been the effects within specific populations and between genders, as well as contributions of genetic polymorphisms in prediction of response to ethanol. Surprisingly, results of recent studies are often at odds with prior, seemingly well established findings.


The association between moderate ethanol consumption and favorable changes in lipoproteins and lipoprotein-related factors in atherosclerosis continues to become better established with the publication of new studies in this field. Continued progress is being achieved in understanding the well established link between moderate intake and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Nevertheless, it remains difficult to implement these findings in clinical practice due to the ongoing lack of randomized, blinded clinical trial data, and the well known hazards of excess ethanol consumption.

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