High-Density Lipoproteins and the Kidney

Cells. 2021 Mar 31;10(4):764. doi: 10.3390/cells10040764.


Dyslipidemia is a typical trait of patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and it is typically characterized by reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol(c) levels. The low HDL-c concentration is the only lipid alteration associated with the progression of renal disease in mild-to-moderate CKD patients. Plasma HDL levels are not only reduced but also characterized by alterations in composition and structure, which are responsible for the loss of atheroprotective functions, like the ability to promote cholesterol efflux from peripheral cells and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory proprieties. The interconnection between HDL and renal function is confirmed by the fact that genetic HDL defects can lead to kidney disease; in fact, mutations in apoA-I, apoE, apoL, and lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) are associated with the development of renal damage. Genetic LCAT deficiency is the most emblematic case and represents a unique tool to evaluate the impact of alterations in the HDL system on the progression of renal disease. Lipid abnormalities detected in LCAT-deficient carriers mirror the ones observed in CKD patients, which indeed present an acquired LCAT deficiency. In this context, circulating LCAT levels predict CKD progression in individuals at early stages of renal dysfunction and in the general population. This review summarizes the main alterations of HDL in CKD, focusing on the latest update of acquired and genetic LCAT defects associated with the progression of renal disease.

Keywords: chronic kidney disease; high-density lipoprotein; lecithin–cholesterol acyltransferase.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / genetics
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / genetics
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / metabolism
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / pathology


  • Lipoproteins, HDL