Evidence for deficiency of high density lipoprotein lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase activity (alpha-LCAT) in fish eye disease

Carlson, L.A.; Holmquist, L.

Acta Medica Scandinavica 218(2): 189-196


ISSN/ISBN: 0001-6101
PMID: 4061122
DOI: 10.1111/j.0954-6820.1985.tb08846.x
Accession: 040077811

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In a rare familial condition, fish eye disease, there is a low relative content of cholesteryl esters in the plasma high density lipoproteins (HDL) but a normal content of these lipids in the very low (VLDL) and low (LDL) density lipoproteins. Lecithin: cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) is the enzyme which mediates the esterification of free cholesterol in the plasma lipoproteins. In the present investigation, isolated HDL from our two fish eye disease patients were found to be excellent substrates during in vitro incubations with normal LCAT as present in lipoprotein depleted plasma from control subjects. Almost all free cholesterol of these HDL fractions became esterified and concomitantly the abnormally small fish eye disease HDL particles increased to a size in the range of that of normal HDL particles. Lipoprotein depleted plasma from fish eye disease, however, lacked the property of normal plasma to esterify the free cholesterol of HDL isolated from plasma of fish eye disease patients or control subjects. These results have led to the formulation of a new concept implying that two different LCAT activities exist in normal plasma. One of these activities, denoted alpha-LCAT, is specific for HDL (alpha-lipoproteins) and the other, beta-LCAT, is specific for VLDL-LDL (pre beta- and beta-lipoproteins). Fish eye disease according to this notion is classified as an alpha-LCAT deficiency in contrast to the classical LCAT deficiency which probably lacks both alpha- and beta-LCAT activities.