Protein composition determines the anti-atherogenic properties of HDL in transgenic mice

J R Schultz, J G Verstuyft, E L Gong, A V Nichols, E M Rubin
Nature 1993 October 21, 365 (6448): 762-4
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) contains two major proteins, apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) and apolipoprotein A-II (apoA-II), comprising about 70% and 20% of the total HDL protein mass, respectively. HDL exists in human plasma in two main forms, one containing apoA-I with apoA-II (AI/AII-HDL) and another containing apoA-I without apoA-II (AI-HDL). A strong inverse relationship exists between total plasma HDL concentration and atherosclerosis, but the results of studies examining the relationship between AI-HDL and AI/AII-HDL and atherosclerosis have been conflicting. To determine whether these two HDL populations have different effects on atherogenesis, human apoA-I (AI) and human apoA-I and apoA-II (AI/AII) transgenic mice were produced in an atherosclerosis-susceptible strain. Following an atherogenic diet, despite similar total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol concentrations, the area of atherogenic lesions in the AI/AII mice was 15-fold greater than in the AI animals. These studies show that the protein composition of HDL significantly affects its role in atherogenesis and that AI-HDL is more antiatherogenic than AI/AII-HDL.

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