Overexpression and deletion of phospholipid transfer protein reduce HDL mass and cholesterol efflux capacity but not macrophage reverse cholesterol transport

J Lipid Res. 2017 Apr;58(4):731-741. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M074625. Epub 2017 Jan 30.


Phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) may affect macrophage reverse cholesterol transport (mRCT) through its role in the metabolism of HDL. Ex vivo cholesterol efflux capacity and in vivo mRCT were assessed in PLTP deletion and PLTP overexpression mice. PLTP deletion mice had reduced HDL mass and cholesterol efflux capacity, but unchanged in vivo mRCT. To directly compare the effects of PLTP overexpression and deletion on mRCT, human PLTP was overexpressed in the liver of wild-type animals using an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector, and control and PLTP deletion animals were injected with AAV-null. PLTP overexpression and deletion reduced plasma HDL mass and cholesterol efflux capacity. Both substantially decreased ABCA1-independent cholesterol efflux, whereas ABCA1-dependent cholesterol efflux remained the same or increased, even though preβ HDL levels were lower. Neither PLTP overexpression nor deletion affected excretion of macrophage-derived radiocholesterol in the in vivo mRCT assay. The ex vivo and in vivo assays were modified to gauge the rate of cholesterol efflux from macrophages to plasma. PLTP activity did not affect this metric. Thus, deviations in PLTP activity from the wild-type level reduce HDL mass and ex vivo cholesterol efflux capacity, but not the rate of macrophage cholesterol efflux to plasma or in vivo mRCT.

Keywords: ATP binding cassette transporter A1; animal models; atherosclerosis; high density lipoprotein/metabolism; macrophages; phospholipid transfer protein activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Dependovirus / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • High-Density Lipoproteins, Pre-beta / biosynthesis
  • High-Density Lipoproteins, Pre-beta / blood
  • High-Density Lipoproteins, Pre-beta / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / genetics
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Deletion


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • High-Density Lipoproteins, Pre-beta
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • PLTP protein, human
  • Phospholipid Transfer Proteins
  • Cholesterol