Cholesterol is a sterol with the structure shown in Figure 1. Daily cholesterol intake is 0.5-1.0 g, half of which is absorbed. On a low-cholesterol diet (<300mg/day) the body synthesizes approximately 800 mg of cholesterol per day, mainly in the liver and, to a lesser extent, in the intestine.

The rate-limiting step in synthesis is highly sensitive to cellular levels of cholesterol, themselves sensitive to circulating levels of cholesterol. This feedback regulation occurs through changes in the amount and activity of an enzyme called 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase (HMG-CoA reduc-tase), which catalyzes the formation of mevalonate, the rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis. The rate of synthesis of HMG-CoA reductase mRNA is

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