Lipoprotein-antibody immune complexes. Their catabolism and role in foam cell formation

Atherosclerosis. 1985 Dec;58(1-3):1-15. doi: 10.1016/0021-9150(85)90051-6.


Immune complexes consisting of human [125I]LDL or [125I]VLDL and anti-apo B IgG were prepared in vitro. After intravenous administration of these complexes or free LDL to normal rabbits the elimination rate for complexes was 2-3-fold higher than for free lipoproteins. The liver/spleen radioactivity ratio after administration of immune complexes was 34% less than after administration of free lipoproteins. Investigations carried out on the cell cultures have shown that during 4-h incubation the uptake of [125I]LDL-anti-apo B IgG complex by human lung fibroblasts was lower than uptake of free [125I]LDL, whereas mouse peritoneal macrophages took up immune complex more actively than free LDL. During 3 days of incubation of macrophages with LDL-anti-apo B IgG the transformation of macrophages into foam cells was observed. This process was accompanied by almost a 60-fold increase of cholesteryl ester content in the cell. It is suggested that excessive uptake of lipoprotein-antibody complexes by macrophages leading to formation of foam cells may play an important role in atherogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / metabolism*
  • Apolipoproteins B / immunology
  • Apolipoproteins B / metabolism
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Foam Cells / immunology*
  • Foam Cells / metabolism
  • Foam Cells / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lipoproteins / immunology*
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / immunology
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / immunology
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / metabolism
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Macrophages / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Rabbits


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL