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Arterioscler Thromb. 1991 Mar-Apr;11(2):298-306.

Enhanced susceptibility to in vitro oxidation of the dense low density lipoprotein subfraction in healthy subjects.

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Division of General Internal Medicine, University Hospital Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Oxidative modification of low density lipoprotein (LDL) has been implicated as a factor in the generation of macrophage-derived foam cells, the hallmark of atherosclerotic plaques. Because LDL consists of discrete subfractions with different physicochemical characteristics, the question arises as to whether these LDL subfractions differ in their susceptibility to oxidative modification. To answer this question, three LDL subfractions, LDL1, LDL2, and LDL3, were isolated from the plasmas of 11 healthy volunteers by density gradient ultracentrifugation. The LDL subfractions were oxidatively modified by incubation with copper ions. Differences in the subfractions' susceptibilities to lipid peroxidation were studied by measuring the formation of the 234-nm-absorbing oxidation products every 3 minutes on an ultraviolet spectrophotometer. A significant inverse linear relation was found between LDL subfractions and lag time (regression coefficient = -8.50, p less than 0.001), indicating that both the dense LDL3 and the light LDL2 were less well protected against oxidative modification than the very light LDL1. The LDL subfractions showed a positive linear relation with the rate of oxidation (regression coefficient = 0.46, p less than 0.001) and the amount of conjugated dienes formed in the LDL subfractions after 4 hours of oxidation (regression coefficient = 9.24, p less than 0.001). Thus, both LDL3 and LDL2 were more extensively modified in time than LDL1, which may be explained by the significantly higher concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids in LDL3 (micromoles per gram LDL cholesterol) compared with LDL1 (Tukey's test, p less than 0.05). These results indicate that the more dense LDL subfractions, that is, LDL2 and LDL3, are more susceptible to oxidative modification and therefore may contribute more to foam cell formation than the less dense LDL subfraction LDL1.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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