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JAMA 100 Years Ago
December 17, 2003


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2003;290(23):3146. doi:10.1001/jama.290.23.3146

As cholesterin seems to be a constituent of most if not all cells, it may be assumed that it is of some importance, even though the quantity is generally small, yet to this time its real purpose has remained practically unknown. Although chemically a much more complex body, it resembles the fat in its physical properties and solubilities, and because of the relatively large amounts in the nervous tissue it is usually thought of in connection with lecithin. Chemically, cholesterin is one of the most inert of the body constituents, and it seems improbable that it plays any part in metabolic processes, for which reason there have been those who have been content to consider cholesterin as merely a by-product in cell metabolism, which was present in the cells in recognizable quantities, chiefly because its resistance to alteration made its removal slow. It is probably because of this resistance to chemical alteration that cholesterin is so frequently found in areas of slow cell-destruction, such as healing tubercles, atheromatous areas, inspissated pus, etc.