In 1913, Anitschkow fed cholesterol to rabbits, and thereby demonstrated that a high blood level of cholesterol can produce atherosclerosis in animals just as it can in human beings — with one fundamental difference. Human hypercholesterolemia is caused by genetic or acquired abnormalities in the synthesis or degradation of plasma lipoproteins that shuttle endogenous cholesterol between body tissues; dietary cholesterol is only an indirect aggravating factor. In laboratory animals hypercholesterolemia is produced exogenously when the normal mechanisms of lipoprotein clearance are overwhelmed by large amounts of dietary cholesterol. Since dietary and endogenous cholesterol are transported by different plasma lipoproteins, the.
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