Published online Dec 21, 2010. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i47.5958
Revised: July 26, 2010
Accepted: August 3, 2010
Published online: December 21, 2010
Reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) is a complex process which transfers cholesterol from peripheral cells to the liver for subsequent elimination from the body via feces. Thyroid hormones (THs) affect growth, development, and metabolism in almost all tissues. THs exert their actions by binding to thyroid hormone receptors (TRs). There are two major subtypes of TRs, TRα and TRβ, and several isoforms (e.g. TRα1, TRα2, TRβ1, and TRβ2). Activation of TRα1 affects heart rate, whereas activation of TRβ1 has positive effects on lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. Consequently, particular interest has been focused on the development of thyromimetic compounds targeting TRβ1, not only because of their ability to lower plasma cholesterol but also due their ability to stimulate RCT, at least in pre-clinical models. In this review we focus on THs, TRs, and on the effects of TRβ1-modulating thyromimetics on RCT in various animal models and in humans.