Open Access Open Badges Research

High-density lipoprotein proteome dynamics in human endotoxemia

Johannes HM Levels1*, Pierre Geurts2, Helen Karlsson3, Raphaël Marée4, Stefan Ljunggren5, Louise Fornander5, Louis Wehenkel2, Mats Lindahl5, Erik SG Stroes6, Jan A Kuivenhoven1 and Joost CM Meijers16

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Experimental Vascular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2 Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science & GIGA-research, University of Liège, Belgium

3 Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Heart-Medical Centre, County Council of Östergötland, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Sweden

4 GIGA Bioinformatics Platform, University of Liège, Belgium

5 Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden

6 Department of Vascular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

Proteome Science 2011, 9:34  doi:10.1186/1477-5956-9-34

Published: 28 June 2011



A large variety of proteins involved in inflammation, coagulation, lipid-oxidation and lipid metabolism have been associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and it is anticipated that changes in the HDL proteome have implications for the multiple functions of HDL. Here, SELDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS) was used to study the dynamic changes of HDL protein composition in a human experimental low-dose endotoxemia model. Ten healthy men with low HDL cholesterol (0.7+/-0.1 mmol/L) and 10 men with high HDL cholesterol levels (1.9+/-0.4 mmol/L) were challenged with endotoxin (LPS) intravenously (1 ng/kg bodyweight). We previously showed that subjects with low HDL cholesterol are more susceptible to an inflammatory challenge. The current study tested the hypothesis that this discrepancy may be related to differences in the HDL proteome.


Plasma drawn at 7 time-points over a 24 hour time period after LPS challenge was used for direct capture of HDL using antibodies against apolipoprotein A-I followed by subsequent SELDI-TOF MS profiling. Upon LPS administration, profound changes in 21 markers (adjusted p-value < 0.05) were observed in the proteome in both study groups. These changes were observed 1 hour after LPS infusion and sustained up to 24 hours, but unexpectedly were not different between the 2 study groups. Hierarchical clustering of the protein spectra at all time points of all individuals revealed 3 distinct clusters, which were largely independent of baseline HDL cholesterol levels but correlated with paraoxonase 1 activity. The acute phase protein serum amyloid A-1/2 (SAA-1/2) was clearly upregulated after LPS infusion in both groups and comprised both native and N-terminal truncated variants that were identified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. Individuals of one of the clusters were distinguished by a lower SAA-1/2 response after LPS challenge and a delayed time-response of the truncated variants.


This study shows that the semi-quantitative differences in the HDL proteome as assessed by SELDI-TOF MS cannot explain why subjects with low HDL cholesterol are more susceptible to a challenge with LPS than those with high HDL cholesterol. Instead the results indicate that hierarchical clustering could be useful to predict HDL functionality in acute phase responses towards LPS.