Hypertriglyceridemia is associated with obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. While lipoprotein lipase (LPL) hydrolyzes triglyceride (TG) cargo into remnant lipoproteins with atherogenic properties, how remnant lipoprotein clearance relates to atherosclerosis in people with diabetes remains unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Shimizu-Albergine et al. examined the effects of the basic leucine zipper transcription factor CREBH, which induces genes that activate LPL in mouse models of type I diabetes. Overexpression of a CREBH fragment reduced apolipoprotein C3 (APOC3) levels, which reduced plasma TGs. Notably, the TGs were lowered by a mechanism that was independent of LPL, and atherosclerosis was alleviated by enhanced lipoprotein remnant clearance as opposed to increased lipolysis of TG-rich lipoprotein precursors. A proinflammatory mechanism likely underlies the atherogenicity of remnant lipoproteins. These findings suggest that modifying CREBH expression in the liver may ameliorate atherosclerosis and, perhaps, other diabetes complications.
Alan D. Attie