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The role of plasma lipid transfer proteins in lipoprotein metabolism and atherogenesis

By David Masson, Xian-Cheng Jiang, Laurent Lagrost and Alan R. Tall


The plasma lipid transfer proteins promote the exchange of neutral lipids and phospholipids between the plasma lipoproteins. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) facilitates the removal of cholesteryl esters from HDL and thus reduces HDL levels, while phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) promotes the transfer of phospholipids from triglyceride-rich lipoproteins into HDL and increases HDL levels. Studies in transgenic mouse models and in humans with rare genetic deficiencies (CETP) or common genetic variants (CETP and PLTP) highlight the central role of these molecules in regulating HDL levels. Human CETP deficiency is associated with dramatic elevations of HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I levels, while PLTP variants with increased expression are associated with higher HDL levels. A recent meta-analysis suggests that common CETP alleles causing reduced CETP and increased HDL levels are associated with reduced coronary heart disease. The failure of a clinical trial with the CETP inhibitor torcetrapib may have been related in part to off-target toxicity. Ongoing phase 3 clinical trials with other CETP inhibitors may help to clarify if this strategy can ultimately be successful in the treatment of atherosclerosis

Topics: Lipoprotein Metabolism
Publisher: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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