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Atherosclerosis. 1991 Jun;88(2-3):99-107.

Reverse cholesterol transport: physiology and pharmacology.

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Center E. Grossi Paoletti, University of Milan, Italy.


Reverse cholesterol transport identifies a series of metabolic events resulting in the transport of cholesterol from peripheral tissues to the liver and plays a major role in maintaining cholesterol homeostasis in the body. High density lipoproteins (HDL) are the vehicle of cholesterol in this reverse transport, a function believed to explain the inverse correlation between plasma HDL levels and atherosclerosis. An attempt to stimulate, by the use of drugs, this transport process seems to be of great promise in the prevention and treatment of arterial disease. Only few drugs are now known that can modify the activity of the various factors involved in the process. Clofibrate reduces cholesterol esterification, but the newer fibric acids are generally ineffective as anion-exchange resins. Probucol directly increases the activity and mass of cholesteryl ester transfer protein, thus possibly improving the physiological process of cholesterol removal from tissues. The few available data on the effects of drugs on reverse cholesterol transport should stimulate the search for new agents specifically stimulating this antiatherogenic process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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