September 19th 2008
We assessed the relationship between high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level and carotid plaque progression in 1952 men and women with preexisting carotid atherosclerosis over a period of 7 years. The HDL cholesterol level was inversely related to plaque growth. The plaques that became more echogenic during follow-up had a lower growth rate compared with those that became more echolucent. These findings suggest that HDL cholesterol stabilizes plaques and counteracts their growth by reducing their lipid content and inflammation.