The effects of native and oxidized chylomicron remnants on the synthesis of cholesteryl ester and triacylglycerol in macrophages, and the way that this is influenced by exposure of the cells to oestrogen, was investigated using the human monocyte cell line THP-1 and chylomicron-remnant-like particles containing human apolipoprotein E (CRLPs). Synthesis of the lipids was measured by the incorporation of [3H]oleate into cholesteryl ester and triacylglycerol. CRLPs (5-40μg of cholesterol/ml) containing either trilinolein or triolein as the triacylglycerol component caused a dose-dependent decrease in cholesteryl ester formation, while triacylglycerol production was unchanged. After oxidation of the CRLPs, the level of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances was increased by 6.3-fold and 2.2-fold in particles containing trilinolein and triolein respectively. Furthermore, CRLPs containing oxidized trilinolein lost their ability to down-regulate cholesterol esterification, while CRLPs containing oxidized triolein did not. Both types of oxidized CRLPs decreased triacylglycerol synthesis. Treatment of the macrophages with 17β-oestradiol caused increases of approx. 94% and 34% in the synthesis of cholesteryl ester and triacylglycerol respectively in the absence of CRLPs. The differences between control and oestrogen-treated cells were abolished, however, when CRLPs (40μg of cholesterol/ml) were added to the incubations. In addition, in contrast with their lack of effect in control cells, CRLPs containing oxidized trilinolein decreased cholesterol esterification in oestrogen-treated cells by approx. 48%. These findings with CRLPs suggest that chylomicron remnants have significant effects on cholesteryl ester and triacylglycerol synthesis in macrophages, which may be modulated both by the oxidation state of the particles and by oestrogen.

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