Elevated high density lipoprotein concentrations in heart transplant recipients are related to impaired plasma cholesteryl ester transfer and hepatic lipase activity

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      Accelerated atherosclerosis is a major complication of heart transplantation, and is frequently associated with a dyslipoproteinemia characterized by a paradoxical increase in HDL-cholesterol concentration. To define this abnormality, the lipoprotein profiles of 25 heart transplant recipients (HTR) were analyzed and compared with those of 26 control subjects. HDL, as separated on the basis of density in 3 subfractions, were increased in concentration: HDLz: +51%, HDL3a: +29%, HDL3b: +32%. HDL2 and HDL3a displayed an enrichment in surface components, phospholipids, unesterified cholesterol and apo E, leading to an increased size compared with subfractions of similar density in the controls. The major steps of plasma HDL metabolism were investigated: cholesterol esterification (LCAT activity), cholesteryl ester transfer to apo B-containing lipoproteins (CETP) and the hepatic hydrolysis of HDL components (HL activity). We demonstrated a partial deficiency in CETP (-28%) and hepatic lipase (-36%) activities with normal LCAT activity. Correlations in total study population (HTR plus controls) evidenced negative associations between CETP activity and HDL3a concentrations and between HL activity and HDL2-cholesterol as a percent of total HDL-cholesterol. Therapeutic agents used in post transplantation treatment such as glucocorticoids and/or cyclosporine may be speculated thus to affect both CETP and HL activities and, by arresting the HDL cycle in a CE-saturated state, to decrease the efficiency of reverse cholesterol extraction at the site of the graft.


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