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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Apr;83(8):2704-8.

The role of lipoproteins and receptor-mediated endocytosis in the transport of bacterial lipopolysaccharide.


The addition of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Escherichia coli 0111:B4 to human monocyte-macrophages cultured in serum results in suppression of scavenger receptor activity. The present studies were performed to examine if the effect on scavenger receptor activity was mediated by LPS alone or by LPS in association with lipoproteins. Radioiodinated LPS (125I-LPS) was added to human plasma in vitro and to normal and hyperlipidemic rabbit plasma in vitro and in vivo to determine the distribution of 125I-LPS among the lipoprotein classes. It was found that all lipoprotein classes bound LPS in direct proportion to their plasma cholesterol concentration. LPS alone was compared to LPS bound to low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein, or reductively-methylated LDL for their abilities to suppress scavenger receptor activity in monocyte-macrophages in lipoprotein-free serum. Only LPS bound to LDL (LPS-LDL) demonstrated an effect similar to that observed when LPS was added to cells in serum. Either unlabeled LDL or unlabeled LPS-LDL complexes competed with the uptake of 125I-LPS-LDL complexes, which appeared to proceed by receptor-mediated endocytosis. In contrast to the uptake of 125I-LDL, the uptake of 125I-LPS-LDL by cultured monocyte-macrophages was not followed by its hydrolysis and the release of its radioactive degradation products into the medium. The association of LPS with lipoproteins was very stable and appeared to be mediated by a lipid-lipid interaction. We hypothesize that LPS bound to lipoproteins may be transported into the artery wall and may initiate the atherosclerotic reaction.

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