Lipoproteins such as LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and oxidized LDL have potentially adverse effects on endothelial cells due to their ability to activate pro-inflammatory pathways regulated via the transcription factor NF-κB (nuclear factor κB). Triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins (the chylomicrons, very-low-density lipoprotein and their respective remnant particles) have also been implicated in the induction of a pro-inflammatory phenotype and up-regulation of adhesion molecule expression. Although early studies supported the proposal that LPL (lipoprotein lipase)-mediated hydrolysis of TRLs (triglyceride-rich lipoproteins) at the endothelium could activate the NFκB pathway, more recent studies provide evidence of pro- and anti-inflammatory responses when cells are exposed to fatty acids or TRL particles. A large number of genes are up- and down-regulated when cells are exposed to TRL, with the net effect reflecting receptor- and nonreceptor-mediated pathways that are activated or inhibited depending on fatty acid type, the lipid and apolipoprotein composition of the TRL and the presence or absence of LPL. Early concepts of TRL particles as essentially pro-inflammatory stimuli to the endothelium provide an overly simplistic view of their impact on the vascular compartment.

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