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Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2014 Apr;12(4):521-32. doi: 10.1586/14779072.2014.896741.

HDL quality and functionality: what can proteins and genes predict?

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Patras, School of Medicine, Rio Achaias, TK. 26500, Greece.


Epidemiological and clinical studies have over the years established that dyslipidemia constitutes the main risk factor for atherosclerosis. The inverse correlation between HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) levels and coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality identified HDL-C as an alternative pharmacological target to LDL-C and a potential anti-atherosclerosis marker. However, more recent data reinforced the principle of 'HDL quality' in atherosclerosis that refers to the functionality of HDL particle, as defined by its protein and lipid content, rather than HDL-C levels in plasma. Since HDL functionality depends on the genes and proteins of the HDL metabolic pathway, its apoprotein composition may serve as a surrogate marker of atheroprotection. In this manuscript we review the atheroprotective properties of HDL in relation to the proteins of HDL metabolic pathway and discuss what HDL-associated genes and proteins may reveal about HDL functionality in the assessment of coronary risk.

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