What is the reverse cholesterol transport system in the pathophysiology of low HDL cholesterol (hypoalphalipoproteinemia)?

Updated: May 21, 2021
  • Author: Vibhuti N Singh, MD, MPH, FACC, FSCAI; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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HDL removes cholesterol from the peripheral tissues, such as fibroblasts and macrophages, and it is esterified by LCAT. The cholesteryl ester thus produced is transferred from the HDL to apo B – containing lipoproteins, such as VLDL, intermediate-density lipoprotein, and LDL, by a key protein termed cholesteryl ester transport protein in the liver. The HDL itself becomes enriched with TGs and subsequently becomes hydrolyzed by hepatic lipase. By this mechanism, the HDL finally becomes smaller again and is ready to scavenge more cholesterol. This pathway is called the reverse cholesterol transport system.

Therefore, HA represents a clinical condition in which the reverse cholesterol transport system functions suboptimally, causing an increased tendency to develop atherosclerotic lesions. [22]

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