The role of lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase for lipoprotein (a) assembly. Structural integrity of low density lipoproteins is a prerequisite for Lp (a) formation in human plasma
Steyrer, E.; Durovic, S.; Frank, S.; Giessauf, W.; Burger, A.; Dieplinger, H.; Zechner, R.; Kostner, G.M.
Journal of Clinical Investigation 94(6): 2330-2340
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9738 PMID: 7989589 Accession: 009537008
The composition of lipoproteins in the plasma of patients with LCAT deficiency (LCAT-D) is grossly altered due to the lack of cholesteryl esters which form the core of normal lipoproteins. When plasma from LCAT-D patients and their relatives was examined we found that nine heterozygotes had plasma Lp(a) levels of 2-13 mg/dl whereas none of 11 affected homozygous individuals from different families contained detectable amounts of Lp(a) in their plasma. Therefore, the binding of apo(a) to LDL density particles was studied in vitro using LDL density fractions prepared from patients, and recombinant apo(a) (r-apo(a)), which was expressed and secreted by transfected COS-7 cells. The LDL from heterozygotes were chemically indistinguishable from normal LDL and homogeneous with regard to morphology, whereas the crude LDL floating fraction from homozygotes consisted of a heterogeneous mixture of large vesicles, and small spheres resembling normal LDL. The LDL density fraction from the LCAT-D patient lacked almost completely cholesteryl esters. Incubation of LCAT-D plasma with active LCAT caused a substantial augmentation of the original subfraction which morphologically resembled normal LDL. Using r-apo(a) and normal LDL or LDL of heterozygous individuals, apoB:r-apo(a) complexes were formed when incubated at 37 degree C in vitro for 20 h. In contrast, the total LDL floating fraction from a homozygous LCAT-D patient failed to form apoB:r-apo(a) complexes. After treatment with active LCAT, a significant apoB:rapo(a) association was observed with LCAT-D LDL density particles. Our data emphasize the importance of the integrity of LDL structure and composition for the formation of Lp(a). In addition, we demonstrate that the absence of LCAT activity has a fundamental impact on the regulation of plasma Lp(a) levels.