Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

Low density lipoprotein (LDL) is an atherogenic molecule that is the major form of cholesterol. LDL functions to transport multiple different lipids to tissues. Higher levels or LDL contribute to atherosclerosis. Cholesterol is predominantly synthesized in the liver by HMG-CoA reductase. A smaller amount is consumed the diet. Medications to lower LDL cholesterol include HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), ezetimibe (Zetia) and niacin. Older drugs such as clofibrate and cholestyramine are no longer used due to the increased risk of stroke and cancer mortality despite lowering LDL levels.