The contribution of hepatic apolipoprotein (apo) B-100 lipoproteins to plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) metabolic heterogeneity was examined in African green monkeys. Hepatic 3H-labeled very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) (d less than 1.006, where d is density in g/ml) or hepatic 131I-labeled LDL (1.030 less than d less than 1.063) were isolated from perfused livers and injected simultaneously with autologous plasma 125I-LDL into African green monkeys. Serial blood samples were taken, and the distribution of radioactivity among various subfractions of apo B-100 lipoproteins was determined using density-gradient ultracentrifugation. Compartmental models were developed to describe simultaneously the kinetics of hepatic lipoproteins and plasma LDL. In five of seven studies, the metabolic behavior of LDL derived from radiolabeled hepatic lipoprotein precursors differed from the metabolic behavior of radiolabeled autologous plasma LDL. These differences could be described by different models supporting two hypotheses with different physiological interpretations: 1) lipoproteins of donor and recipient animals are kinetically distinct, and/or 2) plasma LDL derived from various potential sources are kinetically distinct. Compartmental modeling was used to test these hypotheses, which were not accessible to testing by conventional experimental methodologies. The kinetic analyses of these studies suggest that plasma LDL may be derived from a variety of precursors, including hepatic VLDL and hepatic LDL, with each source giving rise to metabolically distinct plasma LDL.
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