- The central role of lipid abnormalities in the genesis of atherosclerosis has focused on cholesterol. Therapy has concentrated on lowering cholesterol levels, especially cholesterol associated with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles. The circulating high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentration, however, appears to be a strong modifier of LDL cholesterol-associated risk for coronary artery disease. This article reviews the current state of our knowledge regarding HDL and explores the rational application of HDL measurements to patients with lipid abnormalities. (C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.