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Why Is Very High Cholesterol Content Beneficial for the Eye Lens but Negative for Other Organs?

1
Department of Biophysics, Medical University of Lublin, Jaczewskiego 4, 20-090 Lublin, Poland
2
Department of Biophysics, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1083; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051083
Received: 9 April 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cholesterol and Nutrition)
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PDF [1777 KB, uploaded 15 May 2019]
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Abstract

The plasma membranes of the human lens fiber cell are overloaded with cholesterol that not only saturates the phospholipid bilayer of these membranes but also leads to the formation of pure cholesterol bilayer domains. Cholesterol level increases with age, and for older persons, it exceeds the cholesterol solubility threshold, leading to the formation of cholesterol crystals. All these changes occur in the normal lens without too much compromise to lens transparency. If the cholesterol content in the cell membranes of other organs increases to extent where cholesterol crystals forma, a pathological condition begins. In arterial cells, minute cholesterol crystals activate inflammasomes, induce inflammation, and cause atherosclerosis development. In this review, we will indicate possible factors that distinguish between beneficial and negative cholesterol action, limiting cholesterol actions to those performed through cholesterol in cell membranes and by cholesterol crystals. View Full-Text
Keywords: cholesterol; phospholipid membrane; eye lens; arterial cells; cataract; atherosclerosis cholesterol; phospholipid membrane; eye lens; arterial cells; cataract; atherosclerosis
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Widomska, J.; Subczynski, W.K. Why Is Very High Cholesterol Content Beneficial for the Eye Lens but Negative for Other Organs? Nutrients 2019, 11, 1083.

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