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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Plasma phospholipid transfer protein prevents vascular endothelium dysfunction by delivering alpha-tocopherol to endothelial cells.

alpha-tocopherol, the most potent antioxidant form of vitamin E, is mainly bound to lipoproteins in plasma and its incorporation into the vascular wall can prevent the endothelium dysfunction at an early stage of atherogenesis. In the present study, the plasma phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) was shown to promote the net mass transfer of alpha-tocopherol from high density lipoproteins (HDL) and alpha-tocopherol-albumin complexes toward alpha-tocopherol-depleted, oxidized low density lipoproteins (LDL). The facilitated transfer reaction of alpha-tocopherol could be blocked by specific anti-PLTP antibodies. These observations indicate that PLTP may restore the antioxidant potential of plasma LDL at an early stage of the oxidation cascade that subsequently leads to cellular damages. In addition, the present study demonstrated that the PLTP- mediated net mass transfer of alpha-tocopherol can constitute a new mechanism for the incorporation of alpha-tocopherol into the vascular wall in addition to the previously recognized LDL receptor and lipoprotein lipase pathways. In ex vivo studies on rabbit aortic segments, the impairment of the endothelium-dependent arterial relaxation induced by oxidized LDL was found to be counteracted by a pretreatment with purified PLTP and alpha-tocopherol-albumin complexes, and both the maximal response and the sensitivity to acetylcholine were significantly improved. We conclude that PLTP, by supplying oxidized LDL and endothelial cells with alpha-tocopherol through a net mass transfer reaction may play at least two distinct beneficial roles in preventing endothelium damage, i.e., the antioxidant protection of LDL and the preservation of a normal relaxing function of vascular endothelial cells.[1]


  1. Plasma phospholipid transfer protein prevents vascular endothelium dysfunction by delivering alpha-tocopherol to endothelial cells. Desrumaux, C., Deckert, V., Athias, A., Masson, D., Lizard, G., Palleau, V., Gambert, P., Lagrost, L. FASEB J. (1999) [Pubmed]
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