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Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

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Definition

noun

Low-density lipoprotein carrying a cholesterol molecule at its center


Supplement

Lipoproteins are each comprised of lipids and proteins and serve as a shuttle particle for cholesterol in the bloodstream. Cholesterol does not dissolve in the bloodstream and therefore needs lipoproteins that transport it around the body. Cholesterol is necessary since it serves as a structural component of animal cell membranes. The body, especially the liver, produce cholesterol, which circulates in the body via the bloodstream. From the liver, the low-density lipoproteins take cholesterol to transport it. Nevertheless, low-density lipoproteins may also carry other fat molecules such as phospholipids and triglycerides. Thus, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL cholesterol is a complex biomolecule comprised of low-density lipoprotein and cholesterol.

LDL cholesterol is sometimes called as the bad cholesterol. That is because it circulates and may lodge in the walls of blood vessels and becomes oxidized when engulfed by circulating white blood cells. As a result, more white blood cells act on it causing arterial wall inflammation. Over time, more LDL cholesterol and cells deposit at the site resulting in blood vessel blockages or atherosclesosis. This in turn increases the risk for the development of cardiovascular diseases.1

In comparison, the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or HDL is referred to as the good cholesterol. It is because it removes excess cholesterol in the blood vessel walls and takes it back to liver for processing.


Abbreviation / Acronym: LDL cholesterol

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Reference(s):
1 "LDL Cholesterol: The Bad Cholesterol." Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/ldl-cholesterol-the-bad-cholesterol.