Atherogenic Lipoprotein Particles in Atherosclerosis

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The importance of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the development of atherosclerosis has long been recognized, and LDL cholesterol remains the primary target of therapy for the prevention of coronary heart disease. Nevertheless, increasing research attention over the past decade has been devoted to the heterogeneity of LDL particles and the atherogenicity of lipids and lipoproteins other than LDL. Particularly atherogenic forms of LDL include small, dense LDL particles and oxidized LDL. All lipoproteins that contain apolipoprotein B, such as LDL, very-low-density lipoprotein, and intermediate-density lipoprotein, tend to promote atherosclerosis; however, these particles differ in their apolipoprotein and triglyceride content. High levels of plasma triglycerides increase the risk of acute coronary events. Lipoprotein(a) is now considered an independent risk factor in both men and women. Ultimately, better understanding of the roles of these lipid particles and subfractions in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis may affect treatment decisions.

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