Injection of streptococcal serum opacity factor (SOF) into mice reduces the plasma cholesterol level by ∼40%. In vitro, SOF converts high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) into multiple products, including a small HDL, neo HDL. In vitro, neo HDL accounts for ∼60% of the protein mass of the SOF reaction products; in vivo, the accumulated mass of neo HDL is <1% of that observed in vitro. To identify the underlying cause of this difference, we determined the fate of neo HDL in plasma in vitro and in vivo. Following incubation with HDL, neo HDL-PC rapidly transfers to HDL, giving a small remnant, which fuses with HDL. An increased level of SR-B1 expression in Huh7 hepatoma cells and a reduced level of LDLR expression in CHO cells had little effect on neo HDL-[3H]CE uptake. Thus, the dominant receptors for neo HDL uptake are not LDLR or SR-B1. The in vivo metabolic fates of neo HDL-[3H]CE and HDL-[3H]CE were different. Thirty minutes after the injection of neo HDL-[3H]CE and HDL-[3H]CE into mice, plasma [3H]CE counts were 40 and 53%, respectively, of injected counts, with 10 times more [3H]CE appearing in the livers of neo HDL-[3H]CE-injected than in those of HDL-[3H]CE-injected mice. These data support a model of neo HDL-[3H]CE clearance by two parallel pathways. At early post-neo HDL-[3H]CE injection times, some neo HDL is directly removed by the liver; the remainder transfers its PC to HDL, leaving a remnant that fuses with HDL, which is also hepatically removed more slowly. Given that SR-B1 and SOF both remove CE from HDL, this novel mechanism may also underlie the metabolism of remnants released by hepatocytes following selective SR-B1-mediated uptake of HDL-CE.
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