HDL cholesterol

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In physiology, HDL cholesterol (HDL) is "cholesterol which is contained in or bound to high-density lipoproteins (HDL), including cholesterol esters and free cholesterol."[1]

It is not clear whether insufficient HDL causes coronary artery disease[2] and raising the HDL does not seem to reduce coronary artery disease.[3]

Low HDL is part of hypoalphalipoproteinemia.

The HDL cholesterol efflux capacity, "the ability of HDL to accept cholesterol from macrophages, which is a key step in reverse cholesterol transport" may be a more important biomarker than the HDL level at predicting cardiovascular events.[4]


  1. Anonymous (2023), HDL cholesterol (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Voight BF, Peloso GM, Orho-Melander M, Frikke-Schmidt R, Barbalic M, Jensen MK et al. (2012). "Plasma HDL cholesterol and risk of myocardial infarction: a mendelian randomisation study.". Lancet. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60312-2. PMID 22607825. Research Blogging.
  3. AIM-HIGH Investigators. Boden WE, Probstfield JL, Anderson T, Chaitman BR, Desvignes-Nickens P et al. (2011). "Niacin in patients with low HDL cholesterol levels receiving intensive statin therapy.". N Engl J Med 365 (24): 2255-67. DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa1107579. PMID 22085343. Research Blogging.
  4. Rohatgi A, Khera A, Berry JD, Givens EG, Ayers CR, Wedin KE et al. (2014). "HDL cholesterol efflux capacity and incident cardiovascular events.". N Engl J Med 371 (25): 2383-93. DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa1409065. PMID 25404125. PMC PMC4308988. Research Blogging.