We have shown previously that apolipoprotein A (apoA)-I-containing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles are formed by the conjugation of lipid-free apoA-I with lipids derived from other lipoprotein fractions in a process dependent on non-esterified fatty acids, generated by the lipolysis of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) or provided exogenously. In the present study, we show that this process is also able to generate HDL particles containing apoA-II (A-II HDL) and both apoA-I and apoA-II (A-I/A-II HDL). When lipid-free apoA-II was incubated with either VLDLs and lipoprotein lipase or LDLs and sodium oleate, a significant proportion of the apoA-II was recovered in the HDL density fraction. This was associated with the formation of several populations of HDL-sized particles with pre-β2 electrophoretic mobility, which contained phospholipids and unesterified cholesterol as their main lipid constituents. When both lipid-free apoA-I and lipid-free apoA-II were incubated with LDL and sodium oleate, both apolipoproteins were recovered in HDLs that contained phospholipids and unesterified cholesterol as their main lipids. Two populations of particles had diameters of 7.4 and 10.8 nm and pre-β2-migration; there was also a population of pre-β1-migrating particles of diameter 4.7 nm. ApoA-I and apoA-II were both present in the larger HDLs, whereas only apoA-I was present in the smaller particles. Immunoaffinity chromatography on an anti-(apoA-I)–Sepharose column revealed that 10–20% of the apoA-II resided in particles that also contained apoA-I. The majority of the A-I/A-II HDL were present in a population of pre-β2 particles of 10.8 nm diameter. These results in vitro illustrate a potential mechanism for the formation of HDLs containing both apoA-I and apoA-II.

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