Plasma lipoproteins contain variable amounts of lipid oxidation products (LOP), which are known to impair normal physiological functions and stimulate atherosclerotic processes. Recent evidence indicates that plasma lipoproteins are active carriers of LOP, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) directing transport toward peripheral tissues, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) being active in the reverse transport. It has been proposed that the lipoprotein-specific transport of LOP could play a role in atherosclerosis-related effects of LDL and HDL. This article gives an overview of the present knowledge of lipoprotein LOP transport and its association with the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Evidence of the significance of lipoprotein LOP transport comes mainly from studies of physiological oxidative stress and is supported by studies of the functionality apolipoprotein A-1 mimetic peptides. A large body of data has accumulated indicating that lipoprotein LOP transport is connected to the risk of atherosclerosis. While high levels of LOP carried by LDL are indicative of elevated risk, high LOP level in HDL appears to associate with protection. If confirmed, the proposed lipoprotein LOP transport function would affect conception of the etiology of atherosclerosis, but would not conflict current views of the pathophysiological mechanisms. It could open new perspectives, such as the dietary origin of LOP, and the protective function of HDL in clearance of LOP. Focusing on LOP could give additional tools especially for prevention and diagnosis, but would not radically change the management of atherosclerosis and CVD.
Keywords: Oxidized lipids; atherosclerosis; high-density lipoprotein; lipoprotein transport; low-density lipoprotein.