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Physiol Res. 2010;59(3):407-13. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

May alcohol-induced increase of HDL be considered as atheroprotective?

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  • 1Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine - IKEM, Centre for Cardiovascular Research, Prague, Czech Republic.


It is well known that the consumption of moderate doses of alcohol leads to the increase of HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C). Atheroprotectivity of HDL particles is based primarily on their role in reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). In the study with a cross-over design 13 male volunteers were studied in two different regimens: i) drinking of 36 g alcohol daily and ii) drinking only non-alcoholic beverages, to test whether alcohol-induced increase of HDL cholesterol can affect cholesterol efflux (CHE) from cell culture of labeled human macrophages. Alcohol consumption induced significant (p < 0.05) increases of HDL cholesterol from 1.25 +/- 0.32 to 1.34 +/- 0.38 mmol/l and Apo A1 from 1.34 +/- 0.16 to 1.44 +/- 0.19 g/l. These changes were combined with a slight increase of cholesterol efflux from 13.8 +/- 2.15 to 14.9 +/- 1.85 % (p = 0.059). There were significant correlations between individual changes of HDL-C and Apo A1 concentrations and individual changes of CHE (0.51 and 0.60, respectively). In conclusion, moderate alcohol consumption changes the capacity of plasma to induce CHE only at a border line significance.

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