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Lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase--from biochemistry to role in cardiovascular disease.

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National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Pulmonary and Vascular Medicine Branch, Lipoprotein Metabolism Section, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.



We discuss the latest findings on the biochemistry of lecithin : cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT), the effect of LCAT on atherosclerosis, clinical features of LCAT deficiency, and the impact of LCAT on cardiovascular disease from human studies.


Although there has been much recent progress in the biochemistry of LCAT and its effect on high-density lipoprotein metabolism, its role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis is still not fully understood. Studies from various animal models have revealed a complex interaction between LCAT and atherosclerosis that may be modified by diet and by other proteins that modify lipoproteins. Furthermore, the ability of LCAT to lower apoB appears to be the best way to predict its effect on atherosclerosis in animal models. Recent studies on patients with LCAT deficiency have shown a modest but significant increase in incidence of cardiovascular disease consistent with a beneficial effect of LCAT on atherosclerosis. The role of LCAT in the general population, however, has not revealed a consistent association with cardiovascular disease.


Recent research findings from animal and human studies have revealed a potential beneficial role of LCAT in reducing atherosclerosis but additional studies are necessary to better establish the linkage between LCAT and cardiovascular disease.

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