VLDL cholesterol is a minor lipid component of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles of VLDL particles. Triglycerides, which are present in five times the amount of cholesterol, are the more important lipid component of VLDL particles. VLDL cholesterol is only important in that it is calculated in a lipid profile in order to calculate the more important LDL cholesterol. Originally, LDL cholesterol was determined by a lengthy, laborious process called ultracentrifugation of serum. A much more rapid test became available based on the following Friedwald equation: Total cholesterol = LDL cholesterol + HDL cholesterol + VLDL cholesterol (VLDL cholesterol = triglycerides/5). One can rapidly and easily do a lipid profile by enzymatically measuring the important lipids—total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Dividing triglycerides by five gives the relatively unimportant, but hard to measure, VLDL cholesterol, which is useful in then calculating the very important LDL cholesterol.
Donald A. Smith
(see also: Atherosclerosis; Blood Lipids; Cholesterol Test; HDL Cholesterol; Hyperlipidemia; LDL Cholesterol; Triglycerides )
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