Type III hyperlipoproteinemic phenotype in transgenic mice expressing dysfunctional apolipoprotein E

Sergio Fazio, Ya Li Lee, Zhong Sheng Ji, Stanley C. Rall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Transgenic mice were prepared that expressed a dysfunctional apo E variant, apo E(Arg-112, Cys-142), which is associated with dominant inheritance of type III hyperlipoproteinemia (type III HLP) in humans. Among eight founder mice, plasma apo E(Arg-112, Cys-142) levels varied 100-fold and directly correlated with plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels. On a normal chow diet, mice expressing high levels (> 70 mg/dl) of the dysfunctional apo E had grossly elevated plasma lipids, with cholesterol levels of up to 410 mg/dl and triglyceride levels of up to 1,210 mg/dl. Upon agarose electrophoresis, plasma from these mice demonstrated β-very low density lipoproteins (β-VLDL). Mice expressing low (< 2.5 mg/dl) or intermediate (21 mg/dl) levels of the apo E variant had much less severe hyperlipidemia and did not have β-VLDL. Although the transgenic mouse β-VLDL were enriched in cholesteryl esters compared with normal mouse VLDL, they were not as cholesterol enriched as human β-VLDL from type III HLP subjects. Transgenic mouse β-VLDL injected into normal mice were cleared from plasma at a significantly slower rate than normal mouse VLDL, demonstrating the impaired catabolism of β-VLDL. Thus, transgenic mice expressing high levels of the dysfunctional apo E(Arg-112, Cys-142) variant have many characteristics of the human type III HLP phenotype and appear to be a suitable animal model for this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1497-1503
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Cholesterol
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Transgenic mice
  • β-very low density lipoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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