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Robin P F Dullaart, Albert K Groen, Geesje M Dallinga-Thie, Rindert de Vries, Wim J Sluiter, and Arie van Tol

Objective

We tested whether in metabolic syndrome (MetS) subjects the ability of plasma to stimulate cellular cholesterol efflux, an early step in the anti-atherogenic reverse cholesterol transport pathway, is maintained despite low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Design

In 76 subjects with and 94 subjects without MetS based on the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III) criteria, we determined plasma (apo)lipoproteins, pre-β-HDL formation, phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) activity, cholesterol esterification (EST), cholesteryl ester transfer (CET), adiponectin, and the ability of plasma from each subject to stimulate cholesterol efflux out of cultured fibroblasts obtained from a single donor.

Results

Apo E, PLTP activity, EST, and CET were higher (P=0.04 to <0.001), whereas adiponectin was lower in MetS subjects (P<0.01). Pre-β-HDL and pre-β-HDL formation were not different between subjects with and without MetS. Cellular cholesterol efflux to plasma from MetS subjects was slightly higher versus plasma from subjects without MetS (8.8±1.0 vs 8.5±0.9%, P=0.05), but the difference was not significant after age, sex, and diabetes adjustment. Cellular cholesterol efflux was positively related to pre-β-HDL formation, EST, PLTP activity, and apo E (P<0.05 for all by multiple linear regression analysis), without an independent association with MetS and diabetes status.

Conclusions

The ability of plasma from MetS subjects to promote fibroblast cholesterol efflux is not defective, although HDL cholesterol is decreased. Higher cholesterol esterification, PLTP activity, and apo E levels may contribute to the maintenance of cholesterol efflux in MetS.

Free access

Robin P F Dullaart, Gerrit van den Berg, Aafke M van der Knaap, Janneke Dijck-Brouwer, Geesje M Dallinga-Thie, Peter M J Zelissen, Wim J Sluiter, and André P van Beek

Objective

GH replacement lowers total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in GH-deficient adults, but effects on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (HDL-C) are variable. Both GH and glucocorticoids decrease cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) activity, which is important in HDL metabolism. We determined the extent to which the changes in HDL-C in response to GH replacement are predicted by the −629C>A CETP promoter polymorphism, and questioned whether this association is modified by concomitant glucocorticoid treatment.

Design and methods

A total of 91 GH-deficient adults (63 receiving glucocorticoids) were genotyped for the −629 CETP C>A polymorphism. Fasting serum lipids were measured before and after 1.2±0.4 years of GH treatment (Genotropin, Pfizer Inc., Stockholm, Sweden).

Results

In the whole group, total cholesterol and LDL-C decreased (P<0.05) after GH treatment, but the changes in HDL-C were not significant. In CC carriers receiving glucocorticoids (n=19), HDL-C rose by 0.15±0.25 mmol/l (P=0.02; P<0.03 from unchanged HDL-C in −629 AA+CA carriers on glucocorticoids and from CC homozygotes not receiving glucocorticoids). Multivariate regression analysis showed that individual changes in HDL-C were predicted by the CETP polymorphism (CC versus AA+CC, P=0.006) in glucocorticoid users, independently of baseline HDL-C and other variables including apolipoprotein E4 carrier status; an opposite association with the CETP polymorphism was found in patients not receiving glucocorticoids (P=0.053).

Conclusions

We suggest a common CETP variant-glucocorticoid treatment interaction concerning the effect of GH replacement on HDL-C. This may explain some of the reported variation in the HDL-C response to GH.