Plasma net cholesteryl ester (CE) transfer and optimum cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) activity were determined in primary hypertriglyceridemic (n = 11) and normolipidemic (n = 15) individuals. The hypertriglyceridemic group demonstrated threefold greater net CE transfer leading to enhanced accumulation of CE in VLDL. This increased net transfer was not accompanied by a change in CETP activity. In normolipidemia, but not in hypertriglyceridemia, net CE transfer correlated with VLDL triglyceride (r = 0.92, P less than 0.001). In contrast, net CE transfer in hypertriglyceridemia, but not in normolipidemia, correlated with CETP activity (r = 0.73, P less than 0.01). Correction of hypertriglyceridemia with bezafibrate reduced net CE transfer towards normal and restored the correlation with VLDL triglyceride (r = 0.90, P less than 0.005) while suppressing the correlation with CETP activity. That net CE transfer depends on VLDL concentration was confirmed by an increase of net CE transfer in normolipidemic plasma supplemented with purified VLDL. Supplementation of purified CETP to normolipidemic plasma did not stimulate net CE transfer. In contrast, net CE transfer was enhanced by addition of CETP to both plasma supplemented with VLDL and hypertriglyceridemic plasma. Thus, in normal subjects, VLDL concentration determines the rate of net CE transfer. CETP becomes rate limiting as VLDL concentration increases, i.e., in hypertriglyceridemia.
C J Mann, F T Yen, A M Grant, B E Bihain