- Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is one of the most common genetic disorders in humans. It is an extremely atherogenic metabolic disorder characterized by lifelong elevations of circulating LDL-C levels often leading to premature cardiovascular events. In this review, we discuss the clinical phenotypes of heterozygous and homozygous FH, the genetic variants in four genes (LDLR/APOB/PCSK9/LDLRAP1) underpinning the FH phenotype as well as the most recent in vitro experimental approaches used to investigate molecular defects affecting the LDL receptor pathway.
- Phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) is one of the major modulators of lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis development in humans; however, we still do not quite understand the mechanisms. In mouse models, PLTP overexpression induces atherosclerosis, while its deficiency reduces it. Thus, mouse models were used to explore the mechanisms. In this review, I summarize the major progress made in the PLTP research field and emphasize its impact on lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis, as well as its regulation.
- Most of the cholesterol in plasma is in an esterified form that is generated in potentially cardioprotective HDLs. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) mediates bidirectional transfers of cholesteryl esters (CEs) and triglycerides (TGs) between plasma lipoproteins. Because CE originates in HDLs and TG enters the plasma as a component of VLDLs, activity of CETP results in a net mass transfer of CE from HDLs to VLDLs and LDLs, and of TG from VLDLs to LDLs and HDLs. As inhibition of CETP activity increases the concentration of HDL-cholesterol and decreases the concentration of VLDL- and LDL-cholesterol, it has the potential to reduce atherosclerotic CVD.
- Identified in 1993, APOE4 is the greatest genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimerŉs disease (AD), increasing risk up to 15-fold compared with APOE3, with APOE2 decreasing AD risk. However, the functional effects of APOE4 on AD pathology remain unclear and, in some cases, controversial. In vivo progress to understand how the human (h)-APOE genotypes affect AD pathology has been limited by the lack of a tractable familial AD-transgenic (FAD-Tg) mouse model expressing h-APOE rather than mouse (m)-APOE.
- Lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] is a human plasma lipoprotein with unique structural and functional characteristics. Lp(a) is an assembly of two components: a central core with apoB and an additional glycoprotein, called apo(a). Ever since the strong association between elevated levels of Lp(a) and an increased risk for CVD was recognized, interest in the therapeutic modulation of Lp(a) levels has increased. Here, the past and present therapies aiming to lower Lp(a) levels will be reviewed, demonstrating that these agents have had varying degrees of success.
- Calcific aortic stenosis (AS) is the most common form of valve disease in the Western world and affects over 2.5 million individuals in North America. Despite the large burden of disease, there are no medical treatments to slow the development of AS, due at least in part to our incomplete understanding of its causes. The Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genetic Epidemiology extra-coronary calcium consortium reported a genome-wide association study demonstrating that genetic variants in LPA are strongly associated with aortic valve (AV) calcium and clinical AS.
- Elevated plasma concentrations of lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] have been determined to be a causal risk factor for coronary heart disease, and may similarly play a role in other atherothrombotic disorders. Lp(a) consists of a lipoprotein moiety indistinguishable from LDL, as well as the plasminogen-related glycoprotein, apo(a). Therefore, the pathogenic role for Lp(a) has traditionally been considered to reflect a dual function of its similarity to LDL, causing atherosclerosis, and its similarity to plasminogen, causing thrombosis through inhibition of fibrinolysis.
- ApoE is a multifunctional protein that is expressed by many cell types that influences many aspects of cardiovascular physiology. In humans, there are three major allelic variants that differentially influence lipoprotein metabolism and risk for the development of atherosclerosis. Apoe-deficient mice and human apoE isoform knockin mice, as well as hypomorphic Apoe mice, have significantly contributed to our understanding of the role of apoE in lipoprotein metabolism, monocyte/macrophage biology, and atherosclerosis.