Some words are inherently vague. Take "very," for instance. "The use of `very' as an expression of quantity or measurement does not increase precision," writes Roland in "Very, Very Imprecise."1 Yet, ironically, imprecise as it is, "very" found its way into scientific terminology. It insinuated itself into the classification of lipoproteins. "Very low-density lipoprotein" (VLDL) is an accepted term. "Very" sets apart the triglyceriderich (pre-β) lipoproteins, from the cholesterol-rich, low-density (β) lipoproteins (LDLs).
The relationship of VLDL to LDL is thought to be that of precursor to product.2 There is impressive evidence that most VLDLs are converted to LDL through loss of glycerides and apoproteins. A notable exception is apolipoprotein B (apo-B), which remains largely unchanged. Radiolabeled apo-B can thus serve as a continuous guiding thread through the labyrinth of VLDL to LDL conversions, providing a new approach to the study of VLDL kinetics.
It was hoped that