Lipoprotein ability to exchange and remove lipids from model membranes as a function of fatty acid saturation and presence of cholesterol

Sarah Waldie, Federica Sebastiani, Kathryn Browning, Selma Maric, Tania K. Lind, Nageshwar Yepuri, Tamim A. Darwish, Martine Moulin, Gernot Strohmeier, Harald Pichler, Maximilian W.A. Skoda, Armando Maestro, Michael Haertlein, V. Trevor Forsyth, Eva Bengtsson, Martin Malmsten, Marité Cárdenas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lipoproteins play a central role in the development of atherosclerosis. High and low-density lipoproteins (HDL and LDL), known as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol, respectively, remove and/or deposit lipids into the artery wall. Hence, insight into lipid exchange processes between lipoproteins and cell membranes is of particular importance in understanding the onset and development of cardiovascular disease. In order to elucidate the impact of phospholipid tail saturation and the presence of cholesterol in cell membranes on these processes, neutron reflection was employed in the present investigation to follow lipid exchange with both HDL and LDL against model membranes. Mirroring clinical risk factors for the development of atherosclerosis, lower exchange was observed in the presence of cholesterol, as well as for an unsaturated phospholipid, compared to faster exchange when using a fully saturated phospholipid. These results highlight the importance of membrane composition on the interaction with lipoproteins, chiefly the saturation level of the lipids and presence of cholesterol, and provide novel insight into factors of importance for build-up and reversibility of atherosclerotic plaque. In addition, the correlation between the results and well-established clinical risk factors suggests that the approach taken can be employed also for understanding a broader set of risk factors including, e.g., effects of triglycerides and oxidative stress, as well as local effects of drugs on atherosclerotic plaque formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158769
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Cholesterol
  • Lipid removal
  • Lipoproteins
  • Neutron reflection
  • Saturated fats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology

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