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World J Gastroenterol. Dec 21, 2010; 16(47): 5908-5915
Published online Dec 21, 2010. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i47.5908
Reverse cholesterol transport: From classical view to new insights
Astrid E van der Velde
Astrid E van der Velde, Academic Medical Center, AMC Liver Center, Meibergdreef 69-71, 1105 BK, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Astrid E van der Velde, Department of Education and Development, Gelderse Vallei Hospital, 6710 HN Ede, The Netherlands
Author contributions: van der Velde AE solely contributed to this paper.
Correspondence to: Astrid E van der Velde, PhD, Department of Education and Development, Gelderse Vallei Hospital, PO Box 9025, 6710 HN Ede, The Netherlands.
Telephone: +31-318-891318 Fax: +31-318-436977
Received: July 12, 2010
Revised: August 25, 2010
Accepted: September 1, 2010
Published online: December 21, 2010

Cholesterol is of vital importance for the human body. It is a constituent for most biological membranes, it is needed for the formation of bile salts, and it is the precursor for steroid hormones and vitamin D. However, the presence of excess cholesterol in cells, and in particular in macrophages in the arterial vessel wall, might be harmful. The accumulation of cholesterol in arteries can lead to atherosclerosis, and in turn, to other cardiovascular diseases. The route that is primarily thought to be responsible for the disposal of cholesterol is called reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). Therefore, RCT is seen as an interesting target for the development of drugs aimed at the prevention of atherosclerosis. Research on RCT has taken off in recent years. In this review, the classical concepts about RCT are discussed, together with new insights about this topic.

Keywords: Cholesterol, Excretion, Transport, Intestine, Liver