Oral Contraceptives, Lipoproteins, and Lipid Transport

  • Edwin L. Bierman


More than twenty-five years have elapsed since the obvious sex difference in the prevalence of atherosclerosis before age 50 led to the widely held view that gonadal hormones might affect plasma lipids and hence influence the progression of atherosclerosis. Further understanding awaited the development of methods of analysis of the actual transport forms of lipid molecules in plasma, the lipoproteins. A major insight into the problem was provided by Russ, Eder and Barr (1) with the use of the precipitation method of fractionation of lipoproteins into two major classes, “alpha” and “beta” lipoproteins. By measurement of the cholesterol content of these fractions they found that plasma from young women contained more “alpha lipoprotein” and less “beta lipoprotein” than that from men of comparable age. They also found that estrogen treatment of males tended to eliminate this difference by decreasing the “beta/alpha ratio”.


Oral Contraceptive High Density Lipoprotein Gonadal Steroid Gonadal Hormone Lipoprotein Fraction 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin L. Bierman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA

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