Cholesterol metabolism in humans: a review of methods and comparison of results

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Purpose of review

Cholesterol metabolism has been the object of intense investigation for decades. This review focuses on classical and novel methods assessing in vivo cholesterol metabolism in humans. Two factors have fueled cholesterol metabolism studies in the last few years: the renewed interest in the study of reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) as an atheroprotective mechanism and the importance of the gut microbiome in affecting cholesterol metabolism.

Recent findings

Recent applications of these methods have spanned from the assessment of the effect on cholesterol synthesis, absorption or excretion of drugs (such as ezetimibe, PCSK9 inhibitors and plant sterols) and the gut microbiome to the more complex assessment of transintestinal cholesterol excretion (TICE) and RCT.


These methods continue to be a valuable tool to answer novel questions and investigate the complexity of in-vivo cholesterol metabolism.

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