Measurement and prediction of the rates of spontaneous transfer of phospholipids between plasma lipoproteins

John B. Massey, Diane Hickson, Hoyan S. She, James T. Sparrow, David P. Via, Antonio M. Gotto, Henry J. Pownall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The purpose of this report is to develop a correlation between the hydrophobicity of a phospholipid as measured by reversed-phase high-performance liquid Chromatography and its rate of spontaneous transfer and to use this correlation to predict the rate of transfer of any homologous lipid from any lipoprotein. We have studied the mechanism of transfer of a series of fluorescent or radiolabeled phospholipids among natural and reassembled serum lipoproteins. Fluorescent phosphatidylcholines included those with 9-(1-pyrenyl)non-anoic acid in the sn-2 position and lauric, myristic, palmitic, stearic, oleic or linoleic acid at sn-1. The radioactive phosphatidylcholines contained [3H]oleic acid in the sn-2 position and lauric, myristic, or palmitic acid at sn-1. The kinetics of transfer of the pyrene-labeled lipid were followed by changes in the excimer fluorescence, and that of the radioactive lipids by separation of the donor (lipid-apolipoprotein recombinant) from the acceptor (single bilayer vesicles) on a column of Sephacryl S-200. The retention time of each lipid was measured by high-performance hydrophobic chromatography through a Waters radially compressed C18 column eluted with 75% isopropanol and 25% triethylammonium phosphate (0.15 M). A linear relationship was observed between the rate-constant of transfer and the retention time which suggest that the rate of desorption of phosphatidylcholines from lipoproteins and vesicles is controlled predominately by the hydrophobic effect. For a homologous series of lipids, the rate of transfer can be predicted from retention times obtained from hydrophobic chromatography. The kinetics of transfer of 1-lauroyl-2-[9-(1-pyrenyl)non-anoyl] phosphatidylcholine between isolated human serum lipoproteins exhibits a linear correlation between the transfer half-time and the size of the donor lipoproteins. As a consequence, transfer from very-low-density lipoprotein is 10-times slower than that observed from high-density lipoproteins. The observed correlations between phospholipid transfer rates and both the Stokes radius of the donor and the retention time of the phospholipid on a hydrophobic column permit one to calculate the rate of transfer of homologous molecules between lipid-protein complexes. The results predict that the spontaneous transfer of phospholipids between plasma lipoproteins would be too slow to be a physiologically important phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)/Lipids and Lipid Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 6 1984


  • Hydrophobicity
  • Lipoprotein
  • Phospholipid transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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