2016 Volume 23 Issue 2 Pages 119-127
Lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) is the only enzyme capable of esterifying cholesterol in plasma, thus determining the maturation of high-density lipoproteins. Because it maintains an unesterified cholesterol gradient between peripheral cells and extracellular acceptors, for a long time, LCAT has been considered as a key enzyme in reverse cholesterol transport. However, despite the fact that it has been more than 50 years since the identification of LCAT, the role of this enzyme in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis is still debated. A number of studies have been conducted in different animal models, with contradictory results. Studies in humans, in particular in the general population, in subjects at high cardiovascular risk, and in carriers of genetic LCAT deficiency in an excellent model to evaluate the correlation between the reduction of LCAT activity and atherosclerosis also gave conflicting results. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the controversial findings obtained in animals and humans, strengthening the necessity of further investigation to establish how LCAT could be regulated in a promising therapeutic strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk.