Patients with acute hepatitis and chronic alcoholic liver disease had decreased net serum cholesterol esterifying activity (CEA) which correlated positively with the percentages and concentrations of cholesteryl esters in their serum. These cholesterol parameters also correlated negatively with serum bilirubin concentrations, but bilirubin added to sera in vitro failed to influence CEA. The decreased net CEA in the patients was not due to its inhibition by serum bile salts. The sera from five patients catalyzed a net hydrolysis of cholesteryl esters rather than a net esterification of free cholesterol. Since serum cholesteryl ester hydrolase activity may also have been present in the patients with decreased CEA, net CEA cannot be equated with the activity of lecithin-cholesterol acyl transferase (LCAT) in patients with liver disease. The relative contributions of LCAT and cholesteryl ester hydrolase activities to CEA in disease states remain to be evaluated by mutually independent assays. Nevertheless, the correlations found between net CEA and the concentrations and percentages of cholesteryl esters support the concepts that serum cholesterol esterifying activity is physiologically important in the formation of serum cholesteryl esters and that decreased CEA is one mechanism for the decreased level of cholesteryl esters seen in patients with liver diseases.
Don P. Jones, Freddy R. Sosa, Jack Shartsis, Praful T. Shah, Eileen Skromak, William T. Beher