The link between raised levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the blood and atherosclerosis is incontrovertible. The situation with regard to TRLs (triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins) is not as clear. Nevertheless, there is substantial evidence that TRLs may in some cases be just as atherogenic as triacylglycerol-poor LDL. This review focuses on three aspects of the link between TRLs and atherosclerosis: (i) the epidemiological evidence for an association between raised levels of TRLs and atherosclerosis, with particular reference to the results of the PROCAM study; (ii) the possible pathophysiological contribution of TRL to atherogenesis at the level of the arterial wall; and (iii) the case for specific lowering of triacylglycerol levels to prevent atherosclerosis.

Abbreviations used: apoB, apolipoprotein B; CHD, coronary heart disease; HDL, high-density lipoprotein; IDL, intermediate-density lipoprotein; LDL, low-density lipoprotein; PPAR, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor; TRL, triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein; VLDL, very-low-density lipoprotein.

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Author notes

Triglyceride-Rich Lipoproteins and Atherosclerosis a meeting of the Biochemical Society's Irish Area Section held at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, 25–26 June 2003