Oxidation of lipoprotein Lp(a). A comparison with low-density lipoproteins

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991 Jan 4;1081(1):65-74. doi: 10.1016/0005-2760(91)90251-c.


Aimed at identifying possible mechanisms of the suggested high atherogenicity of Lp(a), its susceptibility for Cu(II)-induced oxidation was studied and compared with that of LDL. Since the content of antioxidants as well as the fatty acid pattern of a lipoprotein greatly affects its oxidizability, Lp(a) and LDL were characterized first with respect to these substances. Paired samples of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and Lp(a) were isolated from seven individual donors and compared with each other. This study showed that LDL and Lp(a) are very similar with respect to their fatty acid and antioxidant composition. LDL contains approx. 1132 nmol of total fatty acids/mg lipoprotein and LDL 1466 nmol total fatty acids/mg lipoprotein. Analysis of the fatty acid composition of individual lipid classes (cholesteryl esters, phospholipids and triacylglycerols) revealed also a high similarity in the composition of these lipid classes between the two lipoproteins. A comparison of the antioxidant composition showed that Lp(a) contains less alpha-tocopherol than LDL (1.6 +/- 0.35 nmol/mg vs. 2.1 +/- 0.25 nmol/mg LDL). In copper(II)-induced lipid peroxidation experiments we found a striking difference in the susceptibility of individual lipoprotein classes between all donors. In addition, Lp(a) exhibited a 1.2 to 2.4 longer lag-phase than the corresponding LDL preparation from the same blood donor. Treatment of Lp(a) with neuraminidase resulted in a drastic decrease of the lag-phase of Lp(a). Neuraminidase treatment of LDL on the other hand had no significant effects on its susceptibility to oxidation. Supplementation of neuraminidase-treated Lp(a) with N-acetylneuraminic acid (NANA) at concentrations comparable to the naturally occurring amounts of NANA in the Lp(a) protein moiety led to an increase of the lag-phase yielding values which were comparable to those observed with native Lp(a). These results demonstrate that the fatty acid composition as well as the antioxidant concentrations of Lp(a) and LDL are quite similar; despite this fact, Cu2(+)-mediated oxidation of Lp(a) is retarded in comparison to LDL which might be due to the higher content of NANA in Lp(a).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Humans
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / isolation & purification
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / isolation & purification
  • Molecular Weight
  • Neuraminidase
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Binding
  • Reference Values


  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Copper
  • Neuraminidase