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Biofactors. 2015 Mar-Apr;41(2):67-77. doi: 10.1002/biof.1202. Epub 2015 Mar 23.

HDL particle subpopulations: Focus on biological function.

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National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), UMR-ICAN 1166, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, AP-HP, Pitié-Salpétrière University Hospital, ICAN, Paris, France; Heart Institute-InCor, University of Sao Paulo Medical School Hospital, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Low levels of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) constitute an independent biomarker of cardiovascular morbi-mortality. However, recent advances have drastically modified the classical and limited view of HDL as a carrier of 'good cholesterol', and have revealed unexpected levels of complexity in the circulating HDL particle pool. HDL particles are indeed highly heterogeneous in structure, intravascular metabolism and biological activity. This review describes recent progress in our understanding of HDL subpopulations and their biological activities, and focuses on relationships between the structural, compositional and functional heterogeneity of HDL particles.


HDL subpopulations; HDL-C; functionality

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