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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 May; 83(10): 3479–3483.
PMCID: PMC323539

Metabolism of lipoproteins containing apolipoprotein B-100 in blood plasma of rabbits: heterogeneity related to the presence of apolipoprotein E.


Apolipoprotein B-100 is a constant component of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), intermediate density lipoproteins (IDL), and low density lipoproteins (LDL) in mammalian blood plasma. We have found that each of these classes of lipoproteins includes particles that contain apolipoprotein E (B,E particles) as well as particles that lack this protein (B particles). These two species can be separated by immunosorption on columns of anti-apolipoprotein E bound to Sepharose. We have injected radioiodinated VLDL, IDL, and LDL intravenously into recipient rabbits and have determined the concentration of radioiodine in apolipoprotein B-100 in B,E and B particles in whole-blood plasma obtained at intervals for 24 hr. We have developed a multicompartmental model that is consistent with this new information and with current concepts of lipoprotein metabolism. The model indicates that all apolipoprotein B-100 enters the blood as VLDL, of which about 90% is in B,E particles. Most VLDL B,E particles are removed rapidly from the blood, and only a small fraction is converted to IDL and eventually to LDL (overall conversion is approximately 2%). By contrast, a much smaller fraction of VLDL B particles is removed directly, and approximately 27% is converted to LDL. In addition, some B,E particles are converted to B particles as VLDL are converted to LDL, so that most LDL particles lack apolipoprotein E. Fractional rates of irreversible removal of B,E and B particles in IDL and LDL are similar. Our results indicate that the presence of apolipoprotein E is a major determinant of the metabolic fate of VLDL particles and support the hypothesis that polyvalent binding of particles containing several molecules of apolipoprotein E promotes receptor-dependent endocytosis of hepatogenous lipoproteins and limits their conversion to lipoproteins of higher density.

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