Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins inhibit cholesterol efflux to apolipoprotein (apo) A1 from human macrophage foam cells

Anna M. Palmer, Nuala Murphy, Annette Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


High circulating levels of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TGRL) represent an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease. Here, we show that TGRL inhibit the efflux of cholesterol from ‘foam cell’ macrophages to lipid-poor apolipoprotein (apo) A1, and may thereby inhibit arterial reverse cholesterol transport and promote the formation of atherosclerotic lesions. Human (THP-1) monocyte-derived macrophages were pre-incubated (48 h) with acetylated low-density lipoprotein (AcLDL) to provide a foam cell model of cholesterol efflux to apoA1. Pre-incubation of macrophage ‘foam cells’ with TGRL (0–200 µg/ml, 0–24 h) inhibited the efflux of exogenously radiolabelled ([3H]), endogenously synthesised ([14C]) and cellular cholesterol mass to lipid-poor apoA1, but not control medium, during a (subsequent) efflux period. This inhibition is dependent upon the length of prior exposure to, and concentration of, TGRL employed, but is independent of changes in intracellular triglyceride accumulation or turnover of the cholesteryl ester pool. Despite the negative impact of TGRL on cholesterol efflux, major proteins involved in this process—namely apoE, ABCA1, SR-B1 and caveolin-1—were unaffected by TGRL pre-incubation, suggesting that exposure to these lipoproteins inhibits an alternate, and possibly novel, anti-atherogenic pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2004


  • lipoproteins
  • apolipoprotein (apo) A1
  • cholesterol efflux
  • human macrophage cells


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