, Volume 47, Issue 7, pp 679-686
Date: 09 Jun 2012

Lipid Transfer to HDL is Higher in Marathon Runners than in Sedentary Subjects, but is Acutely Inhibited During the Run

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Although exercise increases HDL-cholesterol, exercise-induced changes in HDL metabolism have been little explored. Lipid transfer to HDL is essential for HDL’s role in reverse cholesterol transport. We investigated the effects of acute exhaustive exercise on lipid transfer to HDL. We compared plasma lipid, apolipoprotein and cytokine levels and in vitro transfer of four lipids from a radioactively labeled lipid donor nanoemulsion to HDL in sedentary individuals (n = 28) and in marathon runners (n = 14) at baseline, immediately after and 72 h after a marathon. While HDL-cholesterol concentrations and apo A1 levels were higher in marathon runners, LDL-cholesterol, apo B and triacylglycerol levels were similar in both groups. Transfers of non-esterified cholesterol [6.8 (5.7–7.2) vs. 5.2 (4.5–6), p = 0.001], phospholipids [21.7 (20.4–22.2) vs. 8.2 (7.7–8.9), p = 0.0001] and triacylglycerol [3.7 (3.1–4) vs. 1.3 (0.8–1.7), p = 0.0001] were higher in marathon runners, but esterified-cholesterol transfer was similar. Immediately after the marathon, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol concentrations and apo A1 levels were unchanged, but apo B and triacylglycerol levels increased. Lipid transfer of non-esterified cholesterol [6.8 (5.7–7.2) vs. 5.8 (4.9–6.6), p = 0.0001], phospholipids [21.7 (20.4–22.2) vs. 19.1 (18.6–19.3), p = 0.0001], esterified-cholesterol [3.2 (2.2–3.8) vs. 2.3 (2–2.9), p = 0.02] and triacylglycerol [3.7 (3.1–4) vs. 2.6 (2.1–2.8), p = 0.0001] to HDL were all reduced immediately after the marathon but returned to baseline 72 h later. Running a marathon increased IL-6 and TNF-α levels, but after 72 h these values returned to baseline. Lipid transfer, except esterified-cholesterol transfer, was higher in marathon runners than in sedentary individuals, but the marathon itself acutely inhibited lipid transfer. In light of these novel observations, further study is required to clarify how these metabolic changes can influence HDL composition and anti-atherogenic function.