Cholesteryl ester, a dietary lipid, is an ester of cholesterol. The ester bond is formed between the carboxylate group of a fatty acid and the hydroxyl group of cholesterol. Cholesteryl esters have a lower solubility in water due to their increased hydrophobicity. Esters are formed by replacing at least one –OH (hydroxyl) group with an –O–alkyl (alkoxy) group. They are hydrolyzed by pancreatic enzymes, cholesterol esterase, to produce cholesterol and free fatty acids. They are associated with atherosclerosis.
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