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Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 2009 Feb;23(1):73-83. doi: 10.1007/s10557-008-6133-8. Epub 2008 Oct 24.

Biology of platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase (PAF-AH, lipoprotein associated phospholipase A2).

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Huntsman Cancer Institute and Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah, 2000 Circle of Hope, Suite 3364, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-5550, USA.



This article is focused on platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase (PAF-AH), a lipoprotein bound, calcium-independent phospholipase A(2) activity also referred to as lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A(2) or PLA(2)G7. PAF-AH catalyzes the removal of the acyl group at the sn-2 position of PAF and truncated phospholipids generated in settings of inflammation and oxidant stress.


Here, I discuss current knowledge related to the structural features of this enzyme, including the molecular basis for association with lipoproteins and susceptibility to oxidative inactivation. The circulating form of PAF-AH is constitutively active and its expression is upregulated by mediators of inflammation at the transcriptional level. This mechanism is likely responsible for the observed up-regulation of PAF-AH during atherosclerosis and suggests that increased expression of this enzyme is a physiological response to inflammatory stimuli. Administration of recombinant forms of PAF-AH attenuate inflammation in a variety of experimental models. Conversely, genetic deficiency of PAF-AH in defined human populations increases the severity of atherosclerosis and other syndromes. Recent advances pointing to an interplay among oxidized phospholipid substrates, Lp(a), and PAF-AH could hold the key to a number of unanswered questions.

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