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Circ Res. 2006 Sep 15;99(6):598-606. Epub 2006 Aug 24.

Hyperhomocysteinemia decreases circulating high-density lipoprotein by inhibiting apolipoprotein A-I Protein synthesis and enhancing HDL cholesterol clearance.

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Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.


We previously reported that hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy), an independent risk factor of coronary artery disease (CAD), is associated with increased atherosclerosis and decreased plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in cystathionine beta-synthase-/apolipoprotein E-deficient (CBS(-/-)/apoE(-/-)) mice. We observed that plasma homocysteine (Hcy) concentrations are negatively correlated with HDL-C and apolipoprotein A1 (apoA-I) in patients with CAD. We found the loss of large HDL particles, increased HDL-free cholesterol, and decreased HDL protein in CBS(-/-)/apoE(-/-) mice, and attenuated cholesterol efflux from cholesterol-loaded macrophages to plasma in CBS(-/-)/apoE(-/-) mice. ApoA-I protein was reduced in the plasma and liver, but hepatic apoA-I mRNA was unchanged in CBS(-/-)/apoE(-/-) mice. Moreover, Hcy (0.5 to 2 mmol/L) reduced the levels of apoA-I protein but not mRNA and inhibited apoA-1 protein synthesis in mouse primary hepatocytes. Further, plasma lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) substrate reactivity was decreased, LCAT specific activity increased, and plasma LCAT protein levels unchanged in apoE(-/-)/CBS(-/-) mice. Finally, the clearance of plasma HDL cholesteryl ester, but not HDL protein, was faster in CBS(-/-)/apoE(-/-) mice, correlated with increased scavenger receptor B1, and unchanged ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 protein expression in the liver. These findings indicate that HHcy inhibits reverse cholesterol transport by reducing circulating HDL via inhibiting apoA-I protein synthesis and enhancing HDL-C clearance.

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