FRANCIS LEROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCIS LEROY, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cholesterol particle, artwork. This is low density lipoprotein (LDL), or 'bad', cholesterol. It consists of a core of esterified cholesterol molecules(green and blue) surrounded by a shell of unesterified cholesterol (green) and phospholipids (orange). It is attached to an apolipoprotein (pink), which makes it soluble in blood. When there are high levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood it builds up on the sides of blood vessels hardening them, a condition named atherosclerosis. This narrows the blood vessels and may block them.
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