1. The oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is believed to play a central role in atherogenesis. We have compared the effect of antioxidant vitamins and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) on the Cu(2+)-catalysed oxidation of LDL. 2. Antioxidant vitamin supplementation significantly reduced conjugated diene formation but did not affect the formation of lipid peroxides. 3. Conversely, HDL did not affect conjugated diene formation but inhibited the formation of lipid peroxides by up to 90%. 4. The inhibition by HDL of lipid peroxide formation in oxidized LDL was dependent on the concentration of HDL and was not due to HDL chelating Cu2+. 5. Large interindividual variations in the inhibition of lipid peroxide formation by autologous HDL were evident, which were related to the rate of lipid peroxide generation in the LDL. 6. We conclude that HDL is a powerful antioxidant or more probably inhibitor of LDL oxidation in vitro and may play an important role in vivo in preventing atherosclerosis by inhibiting LDL oxidation in the artery wall.

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