The function of apolipoprotein (apo) C1 in vivo is not clearly defined. Because transgenic mice overexpressing human apoC1 show elevated triacylglycerol (TG) levels [Simonet, Bucay, Pitas, Lauer and Taylor (1991) J. Biol. Chem. 266, 8651Ő8654], an as yet unknown role for apoC1 in TG metabolism has been suggested. Here we investigated directly the effect of the complete absence of apoC1 on very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-TG lipolysis, clearance and production, by performing studies with the previously generated apoC1-deficient mice. On a sucrose-rich, low fat/low cholesterol (LFC) diet, apoC1-deficient mice accumulate in their circulation VLDL particles, which contain relatively lower amounts of lipids when compared with VLDL isolated from control mice. Lipolysis assays in vitro on VLDL from apoC1-deficient and control mice showed no differences in apparent Km and Vmax values (0.27ŷ0.06 versus 0.24ŷ0.03 mmol of TG/litre and 0.40ŷ0.03 versus 0.36ŷ0.03 mmol of non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA)/min per litre respectively). To correct for potential differences in the size of the VLDL particles, the resulting Km values were also expressed relative to apoB concentration. Under these conditions apoC1-deficient VLDL displayed a lower, but not significant, Km value when compared with control VLDL (3.44ŷ0.71 versus 4.44ŷ0.52 mmol of TG2/g apoB per litre). VLDL turnover studies with autologous injections of [3H]TG-VLDL in vivo showed that the VLDL fractional catabolic rate (FCR) was decreased by up to 50% in the apoC1-deficient mice when compared with control mice (10.5ŷ3.4 versus 21.0ŷ1.2/h of pool TG). No significant differences between apoC1-deficient and control mice were observed in the hepatic VLDL production estimated by Triton WR139 injections (0.19ŷ0.02 versus 0.21ŷ0.05 mmol/h of TG per kg) and in the extra-hepatic lipolysis of VLDL-TG (4.99ŷ1.62 versus 3.46ŷ1.52/h of pool TG) in vivo. Furthermore, [125I]VLDLŐapoB turnover experiments in vivo also showed a 50% decrease in the FCR of VLDL in apoC1-deficient mice when compared with control mice on the LFC diet (1.1ŷ0.3 versus 2.1ŷ0.1/h of pool apoB). When mice were fed a very high fat/high cholesterol (HFC) diet, the VLDLŐapoB FCR was further decreased in apoC1-deficient mice (0.4ŷ0.1 versus 1.4ŷ0.4/h of pool apoB). We conclude that, in apoC1-deficient mice, the FCR of VLDL is reduced because of impaired uptake of VLDL remnants by hepatic receptors, whereas the production and lipolysis of VLDL-TG is not affected.

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