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Cholesterol crystals

Cholesterol crystals

A600/0212

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.

Caption

Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of crystals of pure anhydrous cholesterol precipitated from ethanol. Cholesterol is a sterol, a waxy, fatlike material synthesised by all animal cells. It is an essential constitutent of the cell membrane, a precursor to the formation of sex hormones and the source of bile salts. A third of body cholesterol is produced in the liver. Its excretion, directly or as bile salts, is the sole responsiblitiy of the liver. Body cholesterol is added to by dietary cholesterol, mainly from meat and dairy products. High levels are associated with atheroma ( furring of the arteries) & coronary heart disease but the relationship is unclear. Mag:X 320 (10x8).

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