Availability and Transport of Circulating Cholesterol

Free cholesterol is the precursor for all steroid hormones, but free cholesterol is typically not found within ste-roidogenic cells. Cholesterol transport involves protein protein interactions and is critical for steroid biosynthesis. Most of the cholesterol is provided by low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or high-density lipoproteins (HDL), although small amounts of cholesterol are produced by de novo synthesis. The LDL/HDL cholesterol complexes bind to specific membrane receptors and are subsequently internalized and transported to the lysosomes, where cholesterol is released from the complex. Free cholesterol is converted to cholesterol esters by acyl coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase and stored as lipid droplets until used for steroid biosynthesis.[3] Cholesterol esterase hydrolyzes cholesterol esters, thereby liberating stored cholesterol.[3]

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