Comparison of the LDL-receptor binding of VLDL and LDL from apoE4 and apoE3 homozygotes

Am J Physiol. 1999 Mar;276(3):E553-7. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1999.276.3.E553.


Compared with apolipoprotein E3 (apoE3), apoE2 is less effective in mediating the binding of lipoproteins to the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor. The influence of the E4 isoform, which is associated with adverse effects on plasma lipids and coronary heart disease, is less clear. We compared the ability of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) and LDL from paired E4/4 and E3/3 subjects to compete against 125I-labeled LDL for binding with the LDL receptor on cultured fibroblasts and Hep G2 cells. The concentrations of VLDL or LDL required to inhibit binding of 125I-LDL by 50% (IC50, microgram apoB/ml) were determined, and results were assessed in terms of an IC50 ratio, E4/4 IC50 relative to E3/3 IC50, to reduce the influence of interassay variability. In Hep G2 cells, E4/4 VLDL was more effective than E3/3 VLDL in competing for the LDL receptor, the IC50 ratio being lower than unity (0.73 +/- 0.31, P < 0.05, two-tailed t-test). IC50 values themselves were marginally lower in E4/4 than E3/3 subjects (3.7 +/- 1.3 vs. 6.1 +/- 3.7, P < 0.08). However, there was no difference between E4/4 and E3/3 VLDL in competing for the LDL receptor on fibroblasts or between E4/4 and E3/3 LDL in competing for the LDL receptor on either cell type. These results suggest that inheritance of apoE4 is associated with an increased affinity of VLDL particles for LDL receptors on hepatocytes and may partly explain the influence of the E4 isoform on lipid metabolism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apolipoprotein E3
  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Binding, Competitive / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Homozygote*
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, LDL / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism


  • Apolipoprotein E3
  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Receptors, LDL