More than 93 per cent of the body's cholesterol is located in cells, where it performs vital structural and metabolic functions; only about 7 per cent circulates in plasma, where it predisposes to atherosclerosis. All the cholesterol in plasma is packaged within lipoprotein particles; two thirds is in low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Epidemiologic data and animal experiments indicate that plasma LDL is a major cause of atherosclerosis, particularly in the one of every 500 members of the population who has familial hypercholesterolemia. Because of their elevated LDL levels, male heterozygotes with this dominant disease have an 85 per cent chance of.
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