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The rate at which radioactivity appeared in cholesteryl esters (CE) in whole serum and in very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL) when radioactively labelled free cholesterol (FC) was incubated with serum was investigated. At 4 degrees C equilibration of radioactive FC with native FC occurred, but there was no conversion to CE. At 37 degrees C CE mass increased in parallel with radioactivity in CE both in whole serum and VLDL/LDL. Incubation at 37 degrees C with an inhibitor of lecithin cholesterol acyl transferase (LCAT) abolished the increase in the total CE radioactivity and mass in serum. Transfer of CE from high density lipoprotein (HDL) to VLDL/LDL, however, continued to occur. An assay for LCAT and for cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) was developed, which employed the increases in radioactive CE in whole serum and VLDL/LDL during a single incubation as indices of LCAT and CETP activity, respectively. Determination of the initial serum FC concentration allowed the expression of these activities in nmol/ml per h. References ranges were established in 62 fasting normolipidaemic men and women and increases in both LCAT and CETP were found following a fatty meal. The experiments thus provided further information about the carrier-mediated transfer of CE from its site of esterification on HDL to VLDL/LDL and formed the basis of a relatively simple assay, which has advantages over previously published methods and which may be used in clinical and epidemiological studies to elucidate the role of CETP and LCAT in atherosclerosis.


Journal article



Publication Date





217 - 226


Apolipoproteins, Carrier Proteins, Cholesterol, Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins, Cholesterol Esters, Glycoproteins, Humans, Lipid Metabolism, Lipids, Lipoproteins, Phosphatidylcholine-Sterol O-Acyltransferase, Triglycerides