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Atherosclerosis. 2002 Mar;161(1):215-23.

Unique character and metabolism of high density lipoprotein (HDL) in fetus.

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Department of Pediatrics, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, N15 W7, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.


Lipid and lipoprotein profiles, and enzymes for the lipid metabolism were compared between cord and adult blood. Consistent with previous reports, the major lipoprotein in cord blood was high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and that in adult blood was low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The level of apolipoprotein E (apo E) in cord blood was almost equivalent to that in adult blood, while other apolipoproteins and lipids were all lower than the adult level. In cord blood, apo E-rich HDL cholesterol represented more than 30% of total HDL cholesterol (around 11% in adult), and the concentration was about twice of that in adult blood. This apo E-rich HDL cholesterol was poorly esterified (E/T 56%) compared with that in adults (93%). The lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) activity in cord blood was extremely low, while the activity and mass of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) were higher than those in adult blood. The apo E genotype did not show influences on total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, total HDL cholesterol, and apo E rich HDL cholesterol levels in cord blood, as opposed to those in adult blood. The association of D442G mutation of the CETP gene with the increased HDL cholesterol in adult blood was not seen in cord blood. Rather, the mutation was associated with low total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in cord blood. These results indicate that, in fetus, the character and metabolism of HDL, especially of apo E-rich HDL cholesterol, are distinct from those in adults.

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