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Open Access Review

Regulation of reverse cholesterol transport - a comprehensive appraisal of available animal studies

Wijtske Annema12 and Uwe JF Tietge12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, Center for Liver, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

2 Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:25  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-25

Published: 29 March 2012

Abstract

Plasma levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol are strongly inversely correlated to the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. A major recognized functional property of HDL particles is to elicit cholesterol efflux and consequently mediate reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). The recent introduction of a surrogate method aiming at determining specifically RCT from the macrophage compartment has facilitated research on the different components and pathways relevant for RCT. The current review provides a comprehensive overview of studies carried out on macrophage-specific RCT including a quick reference guide of available data. Knowledge and insights gained on the regulation of the RCT pathway are summarized. A discussion of methodological issues as well as of the respective relevance of specific pathways for RCT is also included.

Keywords:
Atherosclerosis; Bile; Cholesterol; Efflux; Feces; High density lipoproteins; Intestine; Liver; Macrophages; reverse cholesterol transport