Radioimmunoassay studies of human apolipoprotein E

J Clin Invest. 1980 Dec;66(6):1240-50. doi: 10.1172/JCI109975.


This report describes the development and first applications of a sensitive and specific double antibody radioimmunoassay for human apoplipoprotein E (apoE). ApoE was purified from the very low density lipoproteins of hypertriglyceridemic patients by heparin-agarose affinity chromatography, DEAE-cellulose chromatography, and preparative polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The purified apoprotein had an amino acid composition characteristic of apoE and resulted in the production of monospecific antisera when injected into rabbits. The radioimmunoassay, which was carried out in the presence of 5 mM sodium decyl sulfate, had a working range of 0.8-12 ng. The withinassay coefficient of variation was 9% and the coefficient of variation for systematic between-assay variability was 3%. Prior delipidation of samples with organic solvents did not alter their immunoreactivity. In 26 normal volunteers, the mean plasma apoE concentration was 36 +/- 13 microgram/ml. Hyperlipidemic patients (n = 68) had higher mean apoE levels. A single patient with type III hyperlipoproteinemia had a plasma apoE level of 664 microgram/ml. The plasma apoE level was independently related to plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels in a population of 108 normal and nonchylomicronemic hyperlipidemic patients. The multiple correlation coefficient for this relationship was 0.73. Thus, variation in plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations described 53% of the variation in apoE concentrations in this population. The lipoprotein distribution of apoE was investigated by agarose column chromatography and ultracentrifugation of plasma. Agarose column chromatography demonstrated that all or nearly all plasma apoE is associated with lipoproteins. In plasma from normal volunteers and hypercholesterolemic patients, apoE was found in two discrete lipoprotein classes: very low density lipoproteins and a set of lipoprotein particles with size and density characteristics similar to HDL2. In hypertriglyceridemic patients, nearly all apoE was associated with the triglyceride-rich lipoproteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Apolipoproteins / analysis
  • Apolipoproteins / blood
  • Apolipoproteins / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / analysis
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Radioimmunoassay*
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Apolipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Triglycerides