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J Lipid Res. 1988 Sep;29(9):1149-55.

Serum lathosterol concentration is an indicator of whole-body cholesterol synthesis in humans.

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  • 1Gaubius Institute TNO, Leiden, The Netherlands.


The power of serum lathosterol concentration as an indicator of whole-body cholesterol synthesis was investigated in 47 human volunteers consuming two diets differing in fatty acid composition. The cholesterol balance (fecal excretion of neutral and acid steroids minus cholesterol intake) was strongly correlated with the serum level of total (free plus esterified) lathosterol and also with the ratio of serum lathosterol over serum cholesterol, both on a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (r = 0.74 for the ratio) and one containing mainly saturated fatty acids (r = 0.70 for the ratio). In a subgroup for which the serum levels of free lanosterol and other free methylsterols were also quantitated, the correlations of these levels (expressed relative to serum free cholesterol) with the cholesterol balance were lower than that found for total lathosterol (expressed relative to serum total cholesterol). A further corroboration was obtained by measuring the lathosterol/cholesterol ratio in 20 patients with familial hypercholesterolemia before and during treatment with the hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor Mk-733. The ratio was lowered by 47% during drug treatment, suggesting a significant decrease of the cholesterol balance in these patients. We conclude, from the various indicators proposed to monitor whole-body cholesterol synthesis, that the lathosterol/cholesterol ratio in serum appears preferable with respect to indicative power and ease of quantitation.

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