Atherosclerosis: another protein misfolding disease?

Trends Mol Med. 2002 Aug;8(8):370-4. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4914(02)02382-1.


The secondary structure and conformation of apo-B 100 in low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are imposed by lipid-protein interactions and dynamics, and affected by the introduction or removal of lipids during the course of lipoprotein metabolism. Following an alteration of the water-lipid interface as a result of, for example, oxidation of lipids, the supramolecular structure becomes destabilized and apoB can misfold. These events have been observed in LDL(-), a fraction of oxidatively modified LDL isolated in vivo. This modified lipoprotein possesses several atherogenic properties and represents an in vivo counterpart of in vitro modified LDL that is implicated in atherosclerosis. The misfolding of apoB, its aggregation, resistance to proteolysis, and cytotoxicity are common motifs shared by LDL(-) and amyloidogenic proteins. Based on these analogies, we propose that atherogenesis could be considered as a disease produced by the accumulation of cytotoxic and pro-inflammatory misfolded lipoproteins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apolipoprotein B-100
  • Apolipoproteins B / chemistry*
  • Apolipoproteins B / genetics
  • Apolipoproteins B / metabolism
  • Arteriosclerosis / genetics
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism*
  • Arteriosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / chemistry
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / ultrastructure
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Protein Denaturation
  • Protein Folding*


  • Apolipoprotein B-100
  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Lipoproteins, LDL