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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 8;276(23):19778-86. Epub 2001 Feb 9.

Domains of apolipoprotein E contributing to triglyceride and cholesterol homeostasis in vivo. Carboxyl-terminal region 203-299 promotes hepatic very low density lipoprotein-triglyceride secretion.

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Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


Apolipoprotein (apo) E has been implicated in cholesterol and triglyceride homeostasis in humans. At physiological concentration apoE promotes efficient clearance of apoE-containing lipoprotein remnants. However, high apoE plasma levels correlate with high plasma triglyceride levels. We have used adenovirus-mediated gene transfer in apoE-deficient mice (E(-)/-) to define the domains of apoE required for cholesterol and triglyceride homeostasis in vivo. A dose of 2 x 10(9) plaque-forming units of apoE4-expressing adenovirus reduced slightly the cholesterol levels of E(-)/- mice and resulted in severe hypertriglyceridemia, due to accumulation of cholesterol and triglyceride-rich very low density lipoprotein particles in plasma. In contrast, the truncated form apoE4-202 resulted in a 90% reduction in the plasma cholesterol levels but did not alter plasma triglyceride levels in the E(-)/- mice. ApoE secretion by cell cultures, as well as the steady-state hepatic mRNA levels in individual mice expressing apoE4 or apoE4-202, were similar. In contrast, very low density lipoprotein-triglyceride secretion in mice expressing apoE4, but not apoE4-202, was increased 10-fold, as compared with mice infected with a control adenovirus. The findings suggest that the amino-terminal 1-202 region of apoE4 contains the domains required for the in vivo clearance of lipoprotein remnants. Furthermore, the carboxyl-terminal 203-299 residues of apoE promote hepatic very low density lipoprotein-triglyceride secretion and contribute to apoE-induced hypertriglyceridemia.

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