Cholesterol transport

Chylomicron remnants deliver dietary cholesterol to the liver. It is then incorporated into very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), which are secreted in

Figure 1 Structure of oleic acid, C1

CO2H

plasma. The VLDL acquire cholesteryl esters and apolipoprotein E (apo E) from high-density lipoproteins (HDL) to produce intermediate-density lipoproteins (IDL), which are rapidly taken up by the liver or are further catabolized into low-density lipo-proteins (LDL). These cholesterol-rich LDL particles are catabolized only slowly in human plasma and are therefore present at relatively high concentrations. Elimination of cholesterol from these extra-hepatic cells is achieved by the delivery of cholesterol from cell membranes to plasma HDL in the first step of a pathway known as reverse cholesterol transport. This process allows for esterification of cholesterol and its delivery back to the liver.

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