Between Bedside and Bench | Published:

The not-so-simple HDL story

Is it time to revise the HDL cholesterol hypothesis?

Nature Medicine volume 18, pages 13441346 (2012) | Download Citation

Formation of plaques in artery walls, or atherogenesis, is known to lead to cardiovascular disease risk and heart disease. Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), which deliver cholesterol to inflammatory cells in blood vessels, are linked to disease, which is commonly managed using cholesterol-lowering therapies. Whether increasing levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), which remove cholesterol from the circulation, can be cardioprotective has not been clear, despite early clinical studies showing evidence for a positive effect in cardiovascular disease. In 'Bench to Bedside', Daniel J. Rader and Alan R. Tall discuss how the field should focus on promoting reverse cholesterol transport that would result in cholesterol efflux from macrophages to biliary excretion rather than simply trying to increase HDL cholesterol levels. Understanding how different molecular mechanisms operate in this 'HDL flux hypothesis' will uncover ways to develop HDL-targeted therapeutics that will protect from cardiovascular and heart disease. In 'Bedside to Bench', Jay W. Heinecke peruses clinical studies to propose better and simpler ways to measure reverse cholesterol transport in the clinic. Genetic alterations and factors involved in HDL functionality may be useful for quantifying HDL function and finding effective drugs to lower cardiovascular disease risk.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Daniel J. Rader is at the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, the Cardiovascular Institute, and the Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

    • Daniel J Rader
  2. Alan R. Tall is in the Division of Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.

    • Alan R Tall

Authors

  1. Search for Daniel J Rader in:

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Competing interests

A.R.T. is a consultant for Merck, Pfizer, Roche, Amgen, CSL and Arisaph and receives research support from CSL.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Daniel J Rader or Alan R Tall.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.2937

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