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

Lipolytic surface remnants of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins are cytotoxic to macrophages but not in the presence of high density lipoprotein. A possible mechanism of atherogenesis?

Hypertriglyceridemic (HTG) serum, lipolyzed in vitro by purified bovine milk lipoprotein lipase, was found to be cytotoxic to cultured macrophages. Surviving macrophages contained numerous lipid inclusions similar to those found in foam cells. Individual lipoprotein fractions isolated from the lipolyzed HTG serum, including HDL, were also cytotoxic. Lipolysis of isolated lipoprotein fractions (either HTG or normal) allowed localization of cytotoxicity to postlipolysis remnant VLDL and chylomicron particles. The presence of a critical concentration of HDL in either the lipolysis mixture or the culture dishes inhibited the cytotoxicity. Below this critical concentration HDL itself became cytotoxic, producing lipid inclusions in surviving macrophages. The lipid fraction of the cytotoxic remnants contained the cytotoxic factor(s); neither FFA nor lysolecithin alone could account for this cytotoxicity. Postprandial lipemic sera from subjects with a brisk chylomicron response, when lipolyzed in vitro, were cytotoxic to cultured macrophages; neither fasted sera from these subjects, nor postprandial sera from normolipidemic subjects with a normal chylomicron response, were cytotoxic. Postheparin (in vivo lipolyzed) serum and its isolated lipoprotein fractions obtained 30 min after heparin injection in subjects with HTG were shown to be cytotoxic to macrophages; by 60 min most of the cytotoxicity had disappeared. The postprandial and postheparin observations support an in vivo significance for remnant-associated cytotoxicity. We hypothesize that cytotoxic remnants of lipolyzed VLDL and chylomicrons may be one of the major atherogenic lipoproteins. Further, we suggest that inhibition of the cytotoxicity of these remnants may be one important way that HDL prevents atherosclerosis.[1]


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