A practical test for the carrier of “good” cholesterol, HDL

Posted By News On July 10, 2017 - 6:01pm
A practical test for the carrier of “good” cholesterol, HDL

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is considered "good" because because HDL particles removes excess cholesterol from arterial walls and transport them back to the liver.

But how well does an individual's HDL accept cholesterol? A new test says it can more easily show.

Standard health checks measure HDL-C, the amount of cholesterol collected by HDL – they do not look at HDL’s capacity to accept cholesterol. However, HDL’s ability to extract and accept excess cholesterol that has accumulated in cells is a more effective marker in preventing and monitoring cardiovascular disease.

In order to measure HDL’s ability to extract cholesterol (efflux capacity), standard methods use cultured cells that contain cholesterol marked by radioisotopes. This procedure is complicated and takes several days, so it cannot be used in everyday clinical situations. In this study, researchers invented a simpler and faster way to measure HDL capacity.

The team marked cholesterol with fluorescent dye instead of radioactive isotopes and added it to blood serum samples from test subjects. They supplemented the HDL in the blood serum and evaluated the amount of cholesterol accepted by HDL by measuring the strength of the fluorescence . The team called the marker for this method cholesterol “uptake capacity”, as opposed to the conventional method that measures cholesterol “extraction” (efflux) capacity.

Cholesterol efflux and uptake capacity

The “uptake capacity” for cholesterol can be measured with a short processing time (within 6 hours), and is highly reproducible. It also shows good correlation with the conventional “extraction” capacity for cholesterol (figure 2). The study proved that this marker can be used to prevent and monitor cardiovascular conditions with the same effectiveness as the conventional method. The team also clarified that the uptake capacity for cholesterol had fallen in patients with cardiovascular disease. They confirmed that this marker is a negative risk factor independent of bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL).