Cellular cholesterol efflux is an early, obligatory step in reverse cholesterol transport, the putative antiatherogenic mechanism by which human plasma high-density lipoproteins (HDL) transport cholesterol from peripheral tissue to the liver for recycling or disposal. HDL-phospholipid content is the essential cholesterol-binding component of lipoproteins and therefore a major determinant of cholesterol efflux. Thus, increased phospholipidation of lipoproteins, particularly HDL, is one strategy for increasing cholesterol efflux. This study validates a simple, new detergent perturbation method for the phospholipidation of plasma lipoproteins; we have quantified the cholesterophilicity of human plasma lipoproteins and the effects of lipoprotein phospholipidation on cholesterophilicity and cellular cholesterol efflux mediated by the class B type I scavenger receptor (SR-BI). We determined that low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are more cholesterophilic than HDL and that LDL has a higher affinity for phospholipids than HDL whereas HDL has a higher phospholipid capacity than LDL. Phospholipidation of total human plasma lipoproteins enhances cholesterol efflux, an effect that occurs largely through the preferential phospholipidation of HDL. We conclude that increasing HDL phospholipid increases its cholesterophilicity, thereby making it a better acceptor of cellular cholesterol efflux. Phospholipidation of lipoproteins by detergent perturbation is a simple way to increase HDL cholesterophilicity and cholesterol efflux in a way that may be clinically useful.
ASJC Scopus subject areas