Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology

Increased plasma 7 beta-hydroxycholesterol concentrations in a population with a high risk for cardiovascular disease.

PMID 10195924


The mortality in coronary heart disease among 50- to 54-year-old men is 4 times higher in Lithuania than in Sweden. It was recently suggested that traditional risk factors could not explain this mortality difference. LDL of Lithuanian men showed, however, a lower resistance to oxidation than that of Swedish men. In addition, the plasma concentration of gamma-tocopherol, lycopene, and beta-carotene were lower in Lithuanian men. In the present investigation, we determined plasma oxysterols in men from Lithuania and Sweden and found that the plasma concentration of 7 beta-hydroxycholesterol was higher in Lithuanian men, 12+/-5 versus 9+/-8 (SD) ng/mL (P=0.0011). This oxysterol is a cholesterol autoxidation product and there is no indication that it should have an enzymatic origin. Mean LDL oxidation lag time was shorter in Lithuanian men (75+/-14 versus 90+/-13 minutes, P<0.0001) and the concentration of LDL linoleic acid was lower (249+/-56 versus 292+/-54 microgram/mg of LDL protein, P<0.0001). Lipid corrected gamma-tocopherol was 0.07+/-0.02 mg/mL in Vilnius men and 0.12+/-0. 04 mg/mL (P<0.0001) in Linköping men. There was a negative correlation between the concentration of 7 beta-hydroxycholesterol and lag time (R=-0.31, P=0.0023). It is suggested that the higher 7 beta-hydroxycholesterol concentration in Lithuanian men is an indication of an increased in vivo lipid peroxidation.

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7β-Hydroxycholesterol, ≥95%