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Lisa Hayden '01

The Role of LDL in the Development of Atherosclerosis

Abstract

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in America. Current screening methods to predict risk of CHD identify only about half of the affected population. Therefore it is imperative to expand screening parameters to identify individuals presently missed. Elevated low density lipoproteins [LDLs] are a recognized risk factor, but when LDLs are oxidized the risk of developing atherosclerotic lesions contributing to CHD is much greater. However, oxidized low density lipoproteins [oxLDLs] are not included in screening methods. At this time there is no test which directly measures oxLDLs; the only tests available estimate oxLDLs indirectly and these tests lack specificity. ELISA procedures appear to hold the most promise as a tool for the direct measurement of oxLDLs or antibody to oxLDLs, although there are still many aspects of this assay that must be worked out before a reliable test can be made available. If a test can be developed that can identify those individuals, who have high levels of oxLDLs, it may be possible to intervene and reduce deaths from CHD.

Faculty Mentor: Amy Olson, PhD, RD