Urban living leads to high cholesterol... in crows

Animals that do well in urban areas tend to be the ones that learn to make use of resources such as the food humans throw away. But is our food actually good for them? A new study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications ...

Plan B for cholesterol transport

Cholesterol is a vital cell building block in humans and animals, and an integral part of the so-called cell membrane. This boundary layer separates the interior of the cell from the neighboring cells and the surrounding ...

New lipid shape atlas holds key to early disease detection

Every bit of information about a person's health—their exposure to chemicals, their inherited risks, their current illnesses—lies within their molecules. That's a diverse array of substances that amounts to a number so ...

Lipoproteins behave 'almost like a tiny Velcro ball'

Cholesterol carried in high-density lipoprotein particles, or HDL cholesterol, has been dubbed the good cholesterol, because people whose HDL levels are high have a lower risk of developing heart disease. That link was first ...

A molecular look at nascent HDL formation

Oil and water don't mix. But our aqueous blood is full of different types of hydrophobic lipids—including cholesterol. In order to travel via the bloodstream, those lipids need to hitch a ride on an amphipathic carrier. ...

Team determines how cholesterol moves inside cells

Researchers have found that high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, sometimes referred to as "good" cholesterol, is transported from the outer wall to the interior of cells by a protein that helps create a "bridge" between the ...

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Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipidic, waxy steroid found in the cell membranes and transported in the blood plasma of all animals. It is an essential component of mammalian cell membranes where it is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity. Cholesterol is the principal sterol synthesized by animals, but small quantities are synthesized in other eukaryotes, such as plants and fungi. It is almost completely absent among prokaryotes, which include bacteria. Cholesterol is classified as a sterol.

Since cholesterol is essential for life, it is primarily synthesized de novo within the body. However excessive levels of cholesterol in blood circulation are strongly associated with progression of atherosclerosis. For an adult, typical total body cholesterol synthesis is about 1 gram per day (less if dietary intake is high) and total body cholesterol content is about 35 g. Average dietary intake in western societies is 0.2 - 0.3 grams. Cholesterol is excreted by the liver via the bile into the digestive tract. Typically about 50% of the excreted cholesterol is reabsorbed by the small bowel back into the blood stream.

The name cholesterol originates from the Greek chole- (bile) and stereos (solid), and the chemical suffix -ol for an alcohol, as François Poulletier de la Salle first identified cholesterol in solid form in gallstones, in 1769. However, it was only in 1815 that chemist Eugène Chevreul named the compound "cholesterine".

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