The very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) receptor: characterization and functions as a peripheral lipoprotein receptor

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2004;11(4):200-8. doi: 10.5551/jat.11.200.


The very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) receptor is a member of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor family. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that VLDL receptor binds triglyceride (TG)-rich lipoproteins but not LDL, and functions as a peripheral remnant lipoprotein receptor. VLDL receptor is expressed abundantly in fatty acid-active tissues (heart, skeletal muscle and fat), the brain and macrophages. It is likely that VLDL receptor functions in concert with lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which hydrolyses TG in VLDL and chylomicron. In contrast to the LDL receptor, VLDL receptor binds apolipoprotein (apo) E2/2 VLDL particles as well as apoE3/3 VLDL, and the expression is not down-regulated by intracellular lipoproteins. Recently, various functions of the VLDL receptor have been reported in lipoprotein metabolism, metabolic syndrome/atherosclerosis, cardiac fatty acid metabolism, neuronal migration and angiogenesis/tumor growth. Gene therapy of VLDL receptor into the liver showed a benefit effect for lipoprotein metabolism in both LDL receptor knockout and apoE mutant mice. Beyond its function as a peripheral lipoprotein receptor, possibilities of its physiological function have been extended to include signal transduction, angiogenesis and tumor growth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Arteriosclerosis / genetics
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / genetics
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II / therapy
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / genetics
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, LDL / physiology*
  • Receptors, Lipoprotein / physiology
  • Reelin Protein
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • Signal Transduction


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, LDL
  • Receptors, Lipoprotein
  • Reelin Protein
  • VLDL receptor
  • Serine Endopeptidases