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Circulation. 2008 Feb 5;117(5):678-85. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.707349. Epub 2008 Jan 22.

Endothelial lipase is increased in vivo by inflammation in humans.

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  • 1School of Nursing, and Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



Endothelial lipase (EL) is a plasma lipase that we previously reported to be significantly correlated with all features of the metabolic syndrome in humans, including directly with measures of adiposity and inversely with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. We hypothesized that inflammation associated with obesity results in upregulation of EL. We determined the relationship between inflammatory markers and EL levels in a cohort of healthy persons recruited on the basis of family history of coronary disease. Furthermore, we directly tested the hypothesis that plasma EL concentrations would increase with induction of an inflammatory state by low-dose endotoxin in humans.


High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor II, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1, leptin, and adiponectin were measured in plasma of 858 subjects. Significant direct correlations (P<0.001 for all) were found between EL concentrations and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (r=0.28), interleukin-6 (r=0.22), soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor II (r=0.22), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (r=0.24), and leptin (r=0.20). An inverse correlation was present with adiponectin (r=-0.15, P<0.001). Adiponectin inhibited the tumor necrosis factor-alpha-stimulated EL secretion from cultured human coronary endothelial cells in a dose-dependent manner. Experimental low-dose endotoxemia in 20 subjects resulted in a 2.5-fold increase in EL concentrations 12 to 16 hours after injection, which correlated temporally with decreases in both total and high-density lipoprotein phospholipid.


In humans, plasma inflammatory markers are directly correlated with plasma EL concentrations, and experimental endotoxemia significantly increases plasma EL concentrations, proving that EL is upregulated by inflammation in humans. This mechanism may partially explain the low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels seen in obesity and metabolic syndrome.

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