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Protein injection shows promise in lowering elevated triglycerides

October 22, 2010
American Heart Association
A protein injection reduced high triglyceride levels in one type of genetically engineered mice, a new study has found. The approach might help people with similar genetic alterations that cause very high triglycerides.

Injecting a protein that helps break down triglycerides may someday help treat an inherited form of high triglycerides, according to a new study in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, an American Heart Association journal.

Triglyceride is a type of fat in the blood. Elevated levels in the blood -- hypertriglyceridemia -- have been linked to coronary artery disease. In the study, researchers tested a new compound in mice genetically altered to be deficient in a protein called apolipoprotein (apo)A-V, which causes them to have high blood levels of triglycerides. ApoA-V boosts the efficiency of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme needed to break down triglycerides. The active compound consists of apoA-V complexed with phospholipid to form a reconstituted high density lipoprotein (HDL). The researchers administered the compound in the mice intravenously.

"We asked a simple question: If you just inject apoA-V into these mice that are lacking apoA-V and have very high levels of triglyceride, will it go down?" said Trudy Forte, Ph.D., study senior author and a scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute in California. "We were very gratified to see that it went down, and it continued to do so over an eight-hour period."

By the end of the treatment, triglycerides had dropped about 87 percent.

However, in engineered mice lacking a protein called GPIHBP1, which also leads to very high triglycerides, the apoA-V injection didn't lower levels.

Intravenous apA-V may have a therapeutic benefit in humans with severely elevated triglycerides due to genetic changes that affect their levels of apoA-V, the researchers said.

Co-authors are: Xiao Shu, Ph.D.; Lisa Nelbach, Ph.D.; Michael M. Weinstein, Ph.D.; Braydon L. Burgess, M.S.; Jennifer A. Beckstead, M.S.; Stephen G. Young, M.D.; and Robert O. Ryan, Ph.D. Author disclosures and sources of funding are on the manuscript.

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Materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. X. Shu, L. Nelbach, M. M. Weinstein, B. L. Burgess, J. A. Beckstead, S. G. Young, R. O. Ryan, T. M. Forte. Intravenous Injection of Apolipoprotein A-V Reconstituted High-Density Lipoprotein Decreases Hypertriglyceridemia in apoav-/- Mice and Requires Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-Anchored High-Density Lipoprotein-Binding Protein 1. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.210815

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American Heart Association. "Protein injection shows promise in lowering elevated triglycerides." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2010. <>.
American Heart Association. (2010, October 22). Protein injection shows promise in lowering elevated triglycerides. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2024 from
American Heart Association. "Protein injection shows promise in lowering elevated triglycerides." ScienceDaily. (accessed March 3, 2024).

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