The lipoprotein transport system holds the key to understanding the mechanisms by which genes, diet, and hormones interact to regulate the plasma cholesterol level in man. Crucial components of this system are lipoprotein receptors in the liver and extrahepatic tissues that mediate the uptake and degradation of cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins. The number of lipoprotein receptors, and hence the efficiency of disposal of plasma cholesterol, can be increased by cholesterol-lowering drugs. Regulation of lipoprotein receptors can be exploited pharmacologically in the therapy of hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis in man.
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