National Cholesterol Month
In this issue of ATVB, there is a special collection of articles in recognition of National Cholesterol Month. As Brown and Goldstein noted in 1985 in their Nobel Prize lecture (http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1985/brown-goldstein-lecture.pdf), “Cholesterol is the most highly decorated small molecule in biology. Thirteen Nobel Prizes have been awarded to scientists who devoted major parts of their careers to cholesterol. Ever since it was first isolated from gallstones in 1784, almost exactly 200 years ago, cholesterol has exerted a hypnotic fascination for scientists from the most diverse domains of science and medicine.”
The authors and readers of ATVB remain fascinated by cholesterol, and the range of “domains” remains diverse. The articles in this issue span a wide range of topics, including the effects of plasma membrane cholesterol on monocyte interactions with the endothelium, the attenuation of the thrombotic response by inhibiting cholesterol biosynthesis, the role of HDL in aging, gene variants associated with plasma LDL cholesterol levels and coronary artery disease, and impaired macrophage cholesterol efflux in chronic kidney disease.
The long tradition of research on cholesterol has led to fundamental discoveries about a two-faced molecule: not only is it essential to life, but its excess in the vasculature underlies the major cause of death in the developed world. Progress in understanding both faces will come from continued research efforts, such as those represented in this issue, and we hope that this “small molecule” will be decorated many times over in the years to come.