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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Oct 18;1482(1-2):185-98.

Apolipoprotein D.

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Département des Sciences Biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada.


Apolipoprotein D (apoD) is a 29-kDa glycoprotein that is primarily associated with high density lipoproteins in human plasma. It is an atypical apolipoprotein and, based on its primary structure, apoD is predicted to be a member of the lipocalin family. Lipocalins adopt a beta-barrel tertiary structure and transport small hydrophobic ligands. Although apoD can bind cholesterol, progesterone, pregnenolone, bilirubin and arachidonic acid, it is unclear if any, or all of these, represent its physiological ligands. The apoD gene is expressed in many tissues, with high levels of expression in spleen, testes and brain. ApoD is present at high concentrations in the cyst fluid of women with gross cystic disease of the breast, a condition associated with increased risk of breast cancer. It also accumulates at sites of regenerating peripheral nerves and in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease. ApoD may, therefore, participate in maintenance and repair within the central and peripheral nervous systems. While its role in metabolism has yet to be defined, apoD is likely to be a multi-ligand, multi-functional transporter. It could transport a ligand from one cell to another within an organ, scavenge a ligand within an organ for transport to the blood or could transport a ligand from the circulation to specific cells within a tissue.

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