The beneficial effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) on cardiovascular disease have been studied extensively. However, it remains unclear to what extent n-3 PUFAs may impact Reverse Cholesterol Transport (RCT). RCT describes a mechanism by which excess cholesterol from peripheral tissues is transported to the liver for hepatobiliary excretion, thereby inhibiting foam cell formation and the development of atherosclerosis. The aim of this review is to summarize the literature and to provide an updated overview of the effects of n-3 PUFAs on key players in RCT, including apoliprotein AI (apoA-I), ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1), ABCG1, apoE, scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI), cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr), cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) and ABCG5/G8. Based on current knowledge, we conclude that n-3 PUFAs may beneficially affect RCT, mainly by influencing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) remodeling and by promoting hepatobiliary sterol excretion.

PMID: 28984832

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