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Oxysterols are oxidized derivatives of cholesterol, which may be important in many biological processes, including cholesterol homeostasis, atherosclerosis, sphingolipid metabolism, platelet aggregation, apoptosis, and protein prenylation,[1] though their roles are poorly understood.[2][3]

Frying foods in overused oil or smoking cigarettes can oxidize cholesterol, creating oxysterols.[citation needed] It is currently thought that oxysterols may play an important role in atherosclerosis progression: they are likely to promote the synthesis of an extracellular matrix scaffold - via pericyte-like cells in blood vessels - which would be needed for the calcification process (deposition of Ca-phosphate crystals).


  1. ^ Schroepfer, Gj, Jr (Jan 2000). "Oxysterols: modulators of cholesterol metabolism and other processes" (Free full text). Physiological reviews. 80 (1): 361–554. ISSN 0031-9333. PMID 10617772. 
  2. ^ Björkhem, I (Sep 2002). "Do oxysterols control cholesterol homeostasis?". The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 110 (6): 725–30. doi:10.1172/JCI16388. PMC 151135Freely accessible. PMID 12235099. 
  3. ^ Ingemar Björkhem; Ulf Diczfalusy (2002). "Oxysterols: Friends, Foes, or Just Fellow Passengers?". Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 22 (5): 734–42. doi:10.1161/01.ATV.0000013312.32196.49. PMID 12006384.