High-Density Lipoprotein Proteomic Composition, and not Efflux Capacity, Reflects Differential Modulation of Reverse Cholesterol Transport by Saturated and Monounsaturated Fat Diets

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Acute inflammation impairs reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) and reduces high-density lipoprotein (HDL) function in vivo. This study hypothesized that obesity-induced inflammation impedes RCT and alters HDL composition, and investigated if dietary replacement of saturated (SFA) for monounsaturated (MUFA) fatty acids modulates RCT.

Methods and Results—

Macrophage-to-feces RCT, HDL efflux capacity, and HDL proteomic profiling was determined in C57BL/6j mice following 24 weeks on SFA- or MUFA-enriched high-fat diets (HFDs) or low-fat diet. The impact of dietary SFA consumption and insulin resistance on HDL efflux function was also assessed in humans. Both HFDs increased plasma 3H-cholesterol counts during RCT in vivo and ATP-binding cassette, subfamily A, member 1–independent efflux to plasma ex vivo, effects that were attributable to elevated HDL cholesterol. By contrast, ATP-binding cassette, subfamily A, member 1–dependent efflux was reduced after both HFDs, an effect that was also observed with insulin resistance and high SFA consumption in humans. SFA-HFD impaired liver-to-feces RCT, increased hepatic inflammation, and reduced ABC subfamily G member 5/8 and ABC subfamily B member 11 transporter expression in comparison with low-fat diet, whereas liver-to-feces RCT was preserved after MUFA-HFD. HDL particles were enriched with acute-phase proteins (serum amyloid A, haptoglobin, and hemopexin) and depleted of paraoxonase-1 after SFA-HFD in comparison with MUFA-HFD.


Ex vivo efflux assays validated increased macrophage-to-plasma RCT in vivo after both HFDs but failed to capture differential modulation of hepatic cholesterol trafficking. By contrast, proteomics revealed the association of hepatic-derived inflammatory proteins on HDL after SFA-HFD in comparison with MUFA-HFD, which reflected differential hepatic cholesterol trafficking between groups. Acute-phase protein levels on HDL may serve as novel biomarkers of impaired liver-to-feces RCT in vivo.

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