Cholesterol Metabolism

Cholesterol metabolism is of fundamental biological importance. All vertebrates require cholesterol as a precursor for bile acids and hormones, including corticosteroids, sex steroids, and vitamin D. The amount of cholesterol found in tissues greatly exceeds the requirement for production of these hormones and bile acids, and the bulk of this excess is associated with the cellmembrane structure, where it is believed to modulate the physical state of phospholipid bilayers.

Cholesterol circulates in plasma as a component of lipoproteins. There are several distinct classes of plasma lipoprotein, which differ in several respects, including type of apolipoprotein and relative content of triacylglycerol and cholesterol.

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