, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 488-496
Date: 09 Jan 2009

When high is low: Raising low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol

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Abstract

Low serum levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) are highly prevalent and are recognized as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity (myocardial infarction, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and restenosis after coronary stenting) and mortality. HDL plays an important role in modulating atherogenesis, although its functions are varied and complex and the mechanisms for its antiatherogenic effects have not been completely elucidated. The inverse relationship between HDL-C and cardiovascular risk is well established, and epidemiologic studies and clinical trials have provided ample evidence that higher levels of HDL-C are vasculoprotective. Although considerable interest exists in the development of novel approaches to raise serum HDL-C and to augment HDL functionality, this article discusses currently available therapies to raise suboptimal levels of this important lipoprotein.