The polycation protamine impedes the catabolism of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and this has been suggested to be due to intravascular inactivation of lipoprotein lipase. We have made intravenous injections of protamine to rats and found that both lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase activities were released to plasma. The effect of protamine was more short-lived than that obtained by injection of heparin. The release of hepatic lipase by protamine was as effective as the release by heparin, while the amount of lipoprotein lipase released by protamine was only about one-tenth of that released by heparin. This was not due to inactivation of lipoprotein lipase, since injection of an excess of heparin 10 min after injection of protamine released as much lipoprotein lipase activity to plasma as in controls. The results in vivo differed from those obtained in model experiments in vitro . Protamine was able to almost quantitatively release both lipoprotein lipase and hepatic lipase from columns of heparin-agarose. The displacement was dependent on the total amount of protamine that had passed over the column, indicating that it was due to occupation by protamine of all available binding sites. Our results in vivo showed that the binding sites for lipoprotein lipase were not blocked as efficiently as those for hepatic lipase, indicating that the binding structures were not identical. It was concluded that the impaired turnover of lipoproteins by protamine probably was due to prevention of binding of the lipoproteins to endothelial cell surfaces rather than to impaired lipase function.
Heparin and heparin partially depolymerized by enzymic digestion were separated into six size fractions. Hep 1 (tetrasaccharides), with a mean M(r) of 1200, did not release significant amounts of either lipoprotein lipase (LPL) or hepatic lipase (HL) on intravenous injection into rats. Hep 2 (mainly octa- and deca-saccharides), with a mean M(r) of 2400-3000, released both lipases. To evoke the same plasma activity of LPL and HL required about 10 times more by weight, or about 40 times more molecules, of this heparin than of hep 5 (mean M(r) 12,000, similar to conventional heparin). Hep 5 impeded binding and degradation of 125I-labelled bovine LPL by perfused rat livers. In contrast, hep 2 had no detectable effect on these processes. This demonstrates a difference between the sites in the liver that mediate binding, uptake and degradation of LPL, and the extrahepatic sites that bind functional LPL, and the hepatic sites that bind functional HL. After injection of 3.25 mg of hep 5/kg body weight, plasma LPL activity rapidly rose and then remained high for at least 1 h. With hep 2, plasma LPL also rose rapidly, but then decreased to almost basal by 1 h. When a labelled triacylglycerol emulsion was injected 1 h after the heparins, the fractional catabolic rate was enhanced in the rats that had received conventional heparin, as expected from the high plasma LPL activity, but decreased compared with controls in rats that had received hep 2, indicating that available LPL had been depleted through enhanced transport to and uptake in the liver.