Central to the discussion of atherogenesis is the metabolism of the peripheral blood lipopro-teins. These are a complex macromolecule of lipid and protein in which the nonpolar lipid core is surrounded by a polar monolayer of phospholipids and heads of free cholesterol and apolipoproteins. This structure allows for the transport of the relatively insoluble lipids through the liquid plasma. The lipoproteins differ in their proportions of lipid content and proteins found on their surface. Lipid disorders alter the composition and structure of the lipoprotein. For example, as mentioned earlier, patients with high triglycerides produce LDL with a higher protein-to-lipid ratio, yielding a small dense LDL.
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