What is Oxidized LDL?
Oxidized LDL is the atherogenic form of LDL-cholesterol. It is a plaque-specific lipoprotein, found only in atherosclerotic plaques and not in normal artery walls. The conversion of LDL-cholesterol to oxidized LDL by reactive oxygen species (ROS; free radicals and peroxides) in the vascular endothelium is now widely recognized and accepted as a key biochemical reaction in the initiation and progression of the atherosclerotic disease process. Oxidized LDL is directly involved in all stages of the atherosclerotic disease process from the conversion of monocytemacrophages into lipid-laden foam cells; from fatty streak formation to plaque formation; from plaque rupture and intra-arterial thrombosis to ischemia. The level of oxidized LDL found in the blood stream as a result of plaque formation feedback can differentiate between individuals with coronary artery disease from individuals who are “healthy” and not at risk, and can do so with a very high degree of accuracy.