Plasma phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) has atherogenic properties in genetically modified mice. PLTP stimulates hepatic triglyceride secretion and reduces plasma levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL). The present study was performed to relate the increased atherosclerosis in PLTP transgenic mice to one of these atherogenic effects. A humanized mouse model was used which had decreased LDL receptor expression and was transgenic for human cholesterylester transfer protein (CETP) in order to obtain a better resemblance to the plasma lipoprotein profile present in humans. It is well known that female mice are more susceptible to atherosclerosis than male mice. Therefore, we compared male and female mice expressing human PLTP. The animals were fed an atherogenic diet and the effects on plasma lipids and lipoproteins, triglyceride secretion and the development of atherosclerosis were measured. The development of atherosclerosis was sex-dependent. This effect was stronger in PLTP transgenic mice, while PLTP activity levels were virtually identical. Also, the rates of hepatic secretion of triglycerides were similar. In contrast, plasma levels of HDL were about 2-fold lower in female mice than in male mice after feeding an atherogenic diet. We conclude that increased atherosclerosis caused by overexpression of PLTP is related to a decrease in HDL, rather than to elevated hepatic secretion of triglycerides.

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B B A - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Department of Biochemistry

Lie, J., Moerland, M., van Gent, T., van Haperen, R., Scheek, L., Sadeghi-Niaraki, F., … van Tol, A. (2006). Sex differences in atherosclerosis in mice with elevated phospholipid transfer protein activity are related to decreased plasma high density lipoproteins and not to increased production of triglycerides. B B A - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, 1761(9), 1070–1077. doi:10.1016/j.bbalip.2006.06.013