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Am Heart J. 1987 Feb;113(2 Pt 2):464-9.

Regulation of plasma cholesterol by hepatic low-density lipoprotein receptors.


The endogenous lipoprotein system (very low-density lipoprotein [VLDL], intermediate-density lipoprotein [IDL], low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cascade) holds the key to understanding the mechanisms by which hormones, diet, and drugs interact to regulate the plasma cholesterol level. Crucial components of this system are hepatic LDL receptors that mediate the uptake and degradation of plasma LDL. With experimental animals, it has been possible to demonstrate that hepatic LDL receptors are sensitive to hormonal, dietary, and pharmacologic manipulation. The decrease in number of hepatic LDL receptors in hypothyroidism or after cholesterol feeding leads to elevation of plasma LDL cholesterol levels. Conversely, the increase in number of hepatic LDL receptors results in lowering of plasma LDL cholesterol levels. This can be observed in hyperthyroidism, during administration of pharmacologic doses of 17 alpha-ethinyl estradiol, or during treatment with cholesterol-lowering drugs such as the bile acid-binding resins and cholesterol-synthesis inhibitors. Since cholesterol excretion from the body occurs via the liver, the increased efficiency of disposal of plasma cholesterol by increasing hepatic LDL receptors will ultimately lead to depletion of excessive body cholesterol. Pharmacologic regulation of hepatic LDL receptors should be a valuable tool in the prevention and therapy of atherosclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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