Published May 1, 1987 - More info
A single infusion of phospholipid liposomes promptly and persistently abolished the ability of hypercholesterolemic rabbit plasma to cause cholesteryl ester loading in cultured macrophages. This phospholipid enrichment of plasma caused moderate stimulation of cellular cholesterol efflux and, unexpectedly, almost complete inhibition of cellular uptake of beta-very low density lipoprotein (beta-VLDL), the major cholesteryl ester-rich particle in hypercholesterolemic rabbit plasma. Cell viability and LDL receptor activity were unaffected. Incubation of liposomes with beta-VLDL resulted in transfer of apolipoprotein-E (apoE) to the liposomes; reisolated apoE-phospholipid liposomes then competed efficiently for cellular apoprotein receptors. Thus, a major mechanism by which phospholipid infusions result in diminished accumulation of cholesteryl ester in cultured macrophages is by blocking cellular uptake of beta-VLDL. The liposomes deplete beta-VLDL of apoE, then compete for receptor-mediated uptake. These results suggest a novel mechanism contributing to the known antiatherogenic effect of phospholipid infusions: infused liposomes acquire apoE, then block uptake of atherogenic lipoproteins by arterial wall macrophages.