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ABSTRACT: The elevated level of plasma low density lipoprotein (LDL) in hyperlipidemic patients is an important risk factor for the production of atherosclerosis. Plasma LDL must be modified before it can produce an impairment of endothelium-dependent relaxation in aortic rings or enhancement of uptake by macrophages. The dramatic increase in lysophosphatidylcholine (lysoPC) content in oxidatively modified LDL has been touted as an important biochemical factor for the impairment of endothelium-dependent relaxation. The present study was designed to examine the lysoPC composition of oxidized LDL samples from normal and hyperlipidemic subjects, and their effects on the impairment of endothelium-dependent relaxation. Oxidatively modified LDL from hyperlipidemic patients contained a slightly higher level (17%) of lysoPC, but produced a disproportionately greater impairment of endothelium-dependent relaxation than that from normal subjects. As lysoPC is composed of many molecular species, its composition in oxidized LDL samples was analyzed. In hyperlipidemic patients, lysoPC samples were found to contain a higher proportion of long-chain acyl groups. Subsequent studies revealed that only long-chain lysoPC (C > 16:0) were effective in impairing endothelium-dependent relaxation. Experimental loading of oxidized LDL from normal subjects with long chain lysoPC to mimic levels observed in oxidized LDL from hyperlipidemic patients resulted in further impairment of endothelium-dependent relaxation. We conclude that the greater proportion of long-chain lysoPC found in the oxidized LDL of hyperlipidemic subjects is responsible for the increased impairment of endothelium-dependent vascular relaxation. We propose that the high level of LDL found in the plasma of hyperlipidemic patients, coupled with its enhanced ability to generate long chain species of lysoPC during oxidative modification, are important factors for the development of atherosclerosis in these patients.
The Journal of Lipid Research 04/1997; 38(3):546-53. · 4.39 Impact Factor