Several types of transgenic mice were used to study the influence of hypertriglyceridemia and cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) expression on high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, particle sizes, and metabolism. The presence of the CETP transgene in hypertriglyceridemic human apo CIII transgenic mice lowered HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) 48% and apolipoprotein (apo) A-I 40%, decreased HDL size (particle diameter from 9.8 to 8.8 nm), increased HDL cholesterol ester (CE) fractional catabolic rate (FCR) 65% with a small decrease in HDL CE transport rate (TR) and increased apo A-I FCR 15% and decreased apo A-I TR 29%. The presence of the CETP transgene in hypertriglyceridemic mice with human-like HDL, human apo A-I apo CIII transgenic mice, lowered HDL-C 61% and apo A-I 45%, caused a dramatic diminution of HDL particle size (particle diameters from 10.3 and 9.1 to 7.6 nm), increased HDL CE FCR by 107% without affecting HDL CE TR, and increased apo A-I FCR 35% and decreased apo A-I TR 48%. Moreover, unexpectedly, hypertriglyceridemia alone in the absence of CETP was also found to cause lower HDL-C and apo A-I levels primarily by decreasing TRs. Decreased apo A-I TR was confirmed by an in vivo labeling study and found to be associated with a decrease in intestinal but not hepatic apo A-I mRNA levels. In summary, the introduction of the human apo A-I, apo CIII, and CETP genes into transgenic mice produced a high-triglyceride, low-HDL-C lipoprotein phenotype. Human apo A-I gene overexpression caused a diminution of mouse apo A-I and a change from monodisperse to polydisperse HDL. Human apo CIII gene overexpression caused hypertriglyceridemia with a significant decrease in HDL-C and apo A-I levels primarily due to decreased HDL CE and apo A-I TR but without a profound change in HDL size. In the hypertriglyceridemic mice, human CETP gene expression further reduced HDL-C and apo A-I levels, primarily by increasing HDL CE and apo A-I FCR, while dramatically reducing HDL size. This study provides insights into the genes that may cause the high-triglyceride, low-HDL-C phenotype in humans and the metabolic mechanisms involved.
T Hayek, N Azrolan, R B Verdery, A Walsh, T Chajek-Shaul, L B Agellon, A R Tall, J L Breslow