To study the role of apoC1 in lipoprotein metabolism, we have generated transgenic mice expressing the human APOC1 gene. On a sucrose-rich diet, male transgenic mice with high APOC1 expression in the liver showed elevated levels of serum cholesterol and triglyceride compared with control mice (5.7+/-0.7 and 3.3+/-2.1 vs. 2.7+/-0.1 and 0.4+/-0.1 mmol/liter, respectively). These elevated levels were mainly confined to the VLDL fraction. Female APOC1 transgenic mice showed less pronounced elevated serum lipid levels. In vivo VLDL turnover studies revealed that, in hyperlipidemic APOC1 transgenic mice, VLDL particles are cleared less efficiently from the circulation as compared with control mice. No differences were observed in the hepatic production and extrahepatic lipolysis of VLDL-triglyceride. Also, VLDL isolated from control and APOC1 transgenic mice were found to be equally good substrates for bovine lipoprotein lipase in vitro. These data indicate that the hyperlipidemia in APOC1 transgenic mice results primarily from impaired hepatic VLDL particle clearance, rather than a defect in the hydrolysis of VLDL-triglyceride. To investigate which hepatic receptor is involved in the apoC1-mediated inhibition of VLDL clearance, APOC1 transgenic mice were bred with an LDL receptor-deficient (LDLR(-/-)) background. In addition, control, LDLR(-/-), and LDLR(-/-)/APOC1 mice were transfected with adenovirus carrying the gene for the receptor-associated protein (Ad-RAP). Both serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels were strongly elevated in LDLR(-/-)/APOC1 mice compared with LDLR(-/-) mice (52+/-19 and 36+/-19 vs. 8.4+/-0.9 and 0.5+/-0.2 mmol/liter, respectively), indicating that apoC1 inhibits the alternative VLDL clearance pathway via the remnant receptor. Transfection of LDLR(-/-) mice with Ad-RAP strongly increased serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but to a lesser extent than those found in LDLR(-/-)/APOC1 mice (39+/-8 and 17+/-8 vs. 52+/-19 and 36+/-19 mmol/liter, respectively). However, in LDLR(-/-)/APOC1 mice the transfection with Ad-RAP did not further increase serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels (52+/-19 and 36+/-19 vs. 60+/-10 and 38+/-7 mmol/liter, respectively). From these studies we conclude that, in the absence of the LDLR, apoC1 inhibits the hepatic uptake of VLDL via a RAP-sensitive pathway.