Over 93% of the cholesterol in the human body is located in cells, where it
performs indispensable structural and metabolic roles. The remaining 7%
circulates in the plasma,where it contributes to atherosclerosis (formation of plaques on the walls of the arteries supplying the heart, the brain, and other vital organs). For delivery to tissues, plasma cholesterol is packaged in lipoprotein particles;two thirds is associated with low-density lipoprotein(LDL) and the balance with the high-density lipoprotein.
The disorder familial hypercholesterolemia occurs in one in 500 of the
population and results in elevated plasma levels of cholesterol-bearing LDL.
Male heterozygotes with dominant familial hypercholesterolemia have an
85% chance of occurrence of heart attacks (myocardial infarction) before
the age of 60. (Homozygotes of either sex die of heart disease at an early
age). A much larger number of people, who do not have familial hypercholesterolemia, have plasm…