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J Lipid Res. 2013 Jul;54(7):1964-71. doi: 10.1194/jlr.P028449. Epub 2013 May 6.

In vivo tissue cholesterol efflux is reduced in carriers of a mutation in APOA1.

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Department of Vascular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Atheroprotection by high density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered to be mediated through reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) from peripheral tissues. We investigated in vivo cholesterol fluxes through the RCT pathway in patients with low plasma high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) due to mutations in APOA1. Seven carriers of the L202P mutation in APOA1 (mean HDL-c: 20 ± 19 mg/dl) and seven unaffected controls (mean HDL-c: 54 ± 11 mg/dl, P < 0.0001) received a 20 h infusion of (13)C2-cholesterol ((13)C-C). Enrichment of plasma and erythrocyte free cholesterol and plasma cholesterol esters was measured. With a three-compartment SAAM-II model, tissue cholesterol efflux (TCE) was calculated. TCE was reduced by 19% in carriers (4.6 ± 0.8 mg/kg/h versus 5.7 ± 0.7 mg/kg/h in controls, P = 0.02). Fecal (13)C recovery and sterol excretion 7 days postinfusion did not differ significantly between carriers and controls: 21.3 ± 20% versus 13.3 ± 6.3% (P = 0.33), and 2,015 ± 1,431 mg/day versus 1456 ± 404 mg/day (P = 0.43), respectively. TCE is reduced in carriers of mutations in APOA1, suggesting that HDL contributes to efflux of tissue cholesterol in humans. The residual TCE and unaffected fecal sterol excretion in our severely affected carriers suggest, however, that non-HDL pathways contribute to RCT significantly.


fecal sterol excretion; genetics; high density lipoprotein; reverse cholesterol transport

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