Purpose of review: This review describes the evidence that supports the hypothesis that high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is atheroprotective due to its antiinflammatory effects and benefits on vascular health.
Recent findings: Recent investigations have shown that HDL may inhibit atherosclerosis by promoting healthy endothelial function and by limiting or inhibiting the activation of macrophage and other immune cells. Receptors for HDL clearly regulate immune system function as well as cellular stress. Recent studies also suggest that participation of HDL in the process of reverse cholesterol transport may inhibit growth factor and cytokine receptor signaling by depleting cholesterol from lipid rafts. However, inflammation can also be associated with circulating dysfunctional HDL, which often possesses both prooxidative and proinflammatory properties.
Summary: These studies suggest that HDL-based therapeutics have potential in treating both acute and chronic conditions associated with inflammation. These studies also reveal several other pathways that may be targeted for therapeutic drug development.