Epidemiological studies have demonstrated an inverse correlation between plasma concentrations of highdensity lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD); thus new therapies for raising HDL-C levels have been the focus of significant efforts by the cardiovascular medicine community. Inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is one approach to increasing HDL-C concentrations. CETP is a plasma glycoprotein that mediates the transfer of cholesteryl esters from HDL to the apoB-containing lipoproteins, with a balanced transfer of triglycerides. Inhibition of CETP results in an accumulation of cholesteryl esters in HDL, thus resulting in increased HDL-C. Pharmacological inhibition of CETP in humans has been shown to result in increased levels of HDL-C, although any beneficial effect of this inhibition on CHD has yet to be established. This review article will discuss the complex role of CETP in lipid metabolism, recent developments for small-molecule inhibitors of CETP, and future prospects for CETP inhibitors in the treatment of CHD.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, CETP inhibitor, cholesteryl ester transfer protein, coronary heart disease, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
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