Cholesterol

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Pharmacology of Antihyperlipidemic Medications for Laboratory Professionals. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipid subtype and the focus of this educational activity. While cholesterol is discussed often in the healthcare setting, it may have functions that are less apparent.
Cholesterol:
  • promotes fat absorption in the intestine
  • is a precursor of steroid hormones such as estrogen and testosterone
  • transforms vitamin D in the skin
  • is a component of the cellular membrane
Cholesterol can be exogenous or endogenous. About 80% of cholesterol is endogenous, with about 20% being exogenous.
  • Endogenous cholesterol (80%) is produced primarily by one's own liver.
  • Exogenous cholesterol (20%) is absorbed from animal products in our diet.
Endogenous synthesis of cholesterol is dependent on the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase (3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase). This enzyme will become important in the discussion of lipid-lowering medications.