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Can J Cardiol. 2006 Feb;22 Suppl B:31B-34B.

Endothelial lipase: its role in cardiovascular disease.

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Nutraceutical and Functionals Foods Institute, Laval University, Sainte-Foy, Quebec.


Endothelial lipase (EL) has recently been identified as a new member of the triglyceride lipase gene family. EL shares a relatively high degree of homology with lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase, but it appears to be more specific at hydrolyzing phospholipids than lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase. EL is also the only identified lipase that is synthesized and expressed by endothelial cells. Data from in vitro and in vivo animal studies have suggested that EL may play a key role in modulating the metabolism of high density lipoproteins. Data are less consistent in clarifying how EL contributes to the metabolism of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins. Investigations in humans are scarce. To date, increased plasma EL concentrations have been associated with a deteriorated lipoprotein-lipid profile along with elevated plasma triglyceride and apolipoprotein B concentrations, as well as with smaller low density lipoprotein particle size. Elevated proinflammatory cytokine concentrations and an increased prevalence of the metabolic syndrome have also been observed among individuals with elevated plasma EL concentrations. Taken together, data suggest that EL is one of several key regulatory enzymes of lipoprotein-lipid metabolism and that a proinflammatory state, such as the metabolic syndrome, may be implicated in the processes relating plasma EL concentrations and lipoprotein concentrations. EL should thus be considered to play an important role in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease.

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