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August 8, 1953


JAMA. 1953;152(15):1435. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690150039012

The availability of isotopes for "labeling" suspected precursors of biologically important substances made possible the fundamental discovery that the simple, abundant 2-carbon compound, acetate, is used in the biosynthesis of cholesterol.1 Atoms of radioactive carbon (C14) derived from acetate administered to experimental animals were found to appear in the cholesterol subsequently isolated from the tissues. Recent work has further demonstrated that the synthesis of cholesterol from acetate proceeds by way of the cyclization of the hydrocarbon squalene.2 The site and the regulation of the biosynthesis of cholesterol are also problems of great medical interest and fundamental importance. The liver appears to be the primary locus of cholesterol synthesis in the adult,3 whereas other tissues, including the kidney, testes, adrenal cortex, ovaries, and small intestine, are active in the fetus.4 The skin also contributes somewhat to cholesterol synthesis in the adult.

A number of factors have

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