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Chemical structure of cholesterol
Ball-and-stick model of cholesterol
Sample of Cholesterol
IUPAC name
Systematic IUPAC name
Other names
(10R,13R)-10,13-dimethyl-17-(6-methylheptan-2-yl)-2,3,4,7,8,9,11,12,14,15,16,17-dodecahydro-1H-cyclopenta[a]phenanthren-3-ol, Cholesterin, Cholesteryl alcohol
57-88-5 YesY
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image
ChEBI CHEBI:16113 YesY
ChEMBL ChEMBL112570 YesY
ChemSpider 5775 YesY
ECHA InfoCard 100.000.321
KEGG D00040 YesY
PubChem 5997
Molar mass 386.65 g/mol
Appearance white crystalline powder
Density 1.052 g/cm3
Melting point 148 to 150 °C (298 to 302 °F; 421 to 423 K)
Boiling point 360 °C (680 °F; 633 K) (decomposes)
1.8 mg/L (30 °C)
Solubility soluble in acetone, benzene, chloroform, ethanol, ether, hexane, isopropyl myristate, methanol
-284.2·10−6 cm3/mol
Flash point 209.3 ±12.4 °C
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
YesY  (what is YesYN ?)
Infobox references

Cholesterol, from the Ancient Greek chole- (bile) and stereos (solid) followed by the chemical suffix -ol for an alcohol, is an organic molecule. It is a sterol (or modified steroid), a type of lipid molecule, and is biosynthesized by all animal cells, because it is an essential structural component of all animal cell membranes; essential to maintain both membrane structural integrity and fluidity. Cholesterol enables animal cells to dispense with a cell wall (to protect membrane integrity and cell viability), thereby allowing animal cells to change shape and animals to move (unlike bacteria and plant cells, which are restricted by their cell walls).

In addition to its importance for animal cell structure, cholesterol also serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones and bile acids. Cholesterol is the principal sterol synthesized by all animals. In vertebrates, hepatic cells typically produce the greatest amounts. It is absent among prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea), although there are some exceptions, such as Mycoplasma, which require cholesterol for growth.

François Poulletier de la Salle first identified cholesterol in solid form in gallstones in 1769. However, it was not until 1815 that chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul named the compound "cholesterine".

Level mg/dL Level mmol/L Interpretation
< 200 < 5.2 Desirable level corresponding to lower risk for heart disease
200–240 5.2–6.2 Borderline high risk
> 240 > 6.2 High risk



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