To quantify more precisely the metabolism of apolipoprotein B (apo B) in human beings, an integrated model was developed for the analysis of the isotope kinetics of apo B in very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), intermediate density lipoproteins (IDL), and low density lipoproteins (LDL). The experimental basis for model development was a series of 30 triple-isotope studies in which patients received autologous 131I-VLDL, 125I-IDL, and [3H]glycerol as a precursor of VLDL triglycerides. The currently proposed model contains the following components: (a) a VLDL delipidation cascade that has a variable number of subcompartments, (b) a slowly catabolized pool of VLDL, (c) an IDL compartment consisting of two closely connected subcompartments, one of which is outside the immediate circulation, and (d) a two-compartment subsystem for LDL. Because mass data indicate that not all VLDL were converted to LDL, the model allows for irreversible removal of apo B from VLDL (or IDL) subsystems. It accounts for apparent 'direct' input of LDL by postulating an early, rapidly metabolized compartment of VLDL that is converted directly to IDL. The model appears to be consistent with specific activity curves from the current triple-isotope studies and with present concepts of lipoprotein physiology; it also can be used to quantify pathways of lipoprotein apo B transport in normal and abnormal states.
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