Hepatic endothelial lipase (HEL) activity is as high in the neonatal (1-day old) rat liver as in adults. Most of the HEL activity is located at the capillaries since 75% of the total activity is released by heparin or collagenase perfusion. The residual activity (non-releasable) is located in hepatocytes and not in hemopoietic cells, which are the major cell type in neonatal liver. Per mg of protein, the HEL activity is 50% higher in neonatal than in adult hepatocytes. We suggest that neonatal hepatocytes have an increased capacity to synthesize and secrete HEL activity, so maintaining a high activity in the whole organ. it might contribute to the hepatic uptake of cholesterol from circulating lipoproteins, in a period in which endogenous cholesterol synthesis is known to be inhibited in the liver.

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