The cholesterol story
Cholesterol is used by the body to maintain cell structure. It is manufactured by the liver (although some additional cholesterol finds its way into the body from the food we eat). Cholesterol circulates in the blood via a process of cholesterol influx and efflux.1
Any imbalance between cholesterol influx and efflux can cause excess cholesterol to build up in the artery walls, leading to the development of plaque.2
What is cholesterol efflux?
As cholesterol cannot be broken down by the body, it relies on cholesterol efflux to remove cholesterol accumulated in arterial plaque. It is an essential process in which apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I) plays a crucial role.1,3-6
Cholesterol efflux occurs when cholesterol is transferred from macrophages within the arterial plaque to ApoA-I, the key functional component of high-density lipoproteins (HDL).3–7
ApoA-I is produced in the liver and intestines and secreted into plasma in lipid-poor form.4,5
Cholesterol efflux may help encourage plaque regression as excess cholesterol from macrophages within arterial plaque is transferred to ApoA-I in HDL.4,5
These cholesterol-enriched HDL particles then transport the cholesterol to the liver where it may be excreted either as free cholesterol or after conversion to bile acids.1
Adapted from Pepine et al. 19988
Discover the importance of cholesterol efflux
This video provides a visual overview of the important role of cholesterol efflux in the prevention of plaque development.
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AMI, acute myocardial infarction; ApoA-I, apolipoprotein A-I; CV, cardiovascular; HDL, high-density lipoprotein; LDL, low-density lipoprotein
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USA-GEN-0051 | August 2023