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Eur J Hum Genet. 2004 Aug;12(8):627-32.

Association between a polymorphism in the carboxyl ester lipase gene and serum cholesterol profile.

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  • 1Department of CMB/Molecular Biology, Box 462, Göteborg S-405 30, Sweden.


Carboxyl ester lipase (CEL) is involved in the hydrolysis and absorption of dietary lipids, but it is largely unknown to what extent CEL could be involved in determining the serum lipid levels. The C-terminal part of CEL consists of a unique structure with proline-rich O-glycosylated repeats of 11 amino-acid residues each. The common variant of the human CEL gene contains 16 proline-rich repeats, but there is a high degree of polymorphism in the repeated region. While the biological function of the polymorphic repeat region is unknown, it has been suggested that it may be important for protein stability and/or secretion of the enzyme. Given that the polymorphism in the repeated region may affect the functionality of the protein, this study aimed to investigate whether the number of repeated units is correlated to serum lipid phenotype. Comparison of CEL repeat genotype and serum lipid phenotype revealed an association between the number of repeats and serum cholesterol profile. Individuals carrying at least one allele with fewer than the common 16 repeats had significantly lower total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels compared to individuals carrying two common alleles. This gives support to the notion that CEL may be involved in determining the plasma lipid composition.

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