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Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2010 Oct 29;6:979-96. doi: 10.2147/VHRM.S5685.

Low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol: current status and future strategies for management.

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University of South Florida College of Medicine, Suncoast Cardiovascular Center, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA.


Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the foremost cause of death and disability in the Western world, and it is rapidly becoming so in the developing nations. Even though the use of statin therapy aiming at the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) has significantly reduced cardiovascular events and mortality, substantial residual cardiac events still occur in those being treated to the currently recommended targets. In fact, residual risk is also seen in those who are treated "aggressively" such as the "high risk" patients so defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III). Consequently, one must look for the predictors of risk beyond LDL reduction. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) is the next frontier. The protectiveness of elevated HDL against atherosclerosis is well described in the literature. HDL subdues several atherogenic processes, such as oxidation, inflammation, cell proliferation and thrombosis. It also helps mobilize the excess LDL via reverse cholesterol transport. Low levels of HDL have been shown to be independent predictors of risk. Thus, therapies to raise the HDL hold promise for additional cardiac risk reduction. In this regard, several randomized trials have recently tested this hypothesis, especially in patients at high risk. In addition to the use of aggressive lifestyle modification, clinical outcomes have been measured following augmentation of HDL levels with various treatment modalities, including aggressive statin therapy, combination therapy with fibrates and niacin, and direct HDL-raising drug treatments. These data for low HDL as an independent risk factor and as the new treatment target are reviewed in this paper.


CETP inhibitors; Cordaptiveā„¢; D-4F agonists; HDL; PPAR-alpha agonists; apolipoprotein-A agonists; atherosclerosis risk reduction; dyslipidemia; farnesoid X-receptor antagonists; fibrates; hypoalphalipoproteinemia; liver X-receptor agonists; low HDL cholesterol; niacin; reverse cholesterol transport; statins

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