The cholesterol contained within HDL is inversely associated with risk of coronary heart disease and is a key component of predicting cardiovascular risk. However, despite its properties consistent with atheroprotection, the causal relation between HDL and atherosclerosis is uncertain. Human genetics and failed clinical trials have created scepticism about the HDL hypothesis. Nevertheless, drugs that raise HDL-C concentrations, cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitors, are in late-stage clinical development, and other approaches that promote HDL function, including reverse cholesterol transport, are in early-stage clinical development. The final chapters regarding the effect of HDL-targeted therapeutic interventions on coronary heart disease events remain to be written.
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