Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 73–83 | Cite as

Biology of Platelet-activating Factor Acetylhydrolase (PAF-AH, Lipoprotein Associated Phospholipase A2)

  • Diana M. StafforiniEmail author



This article is focused on platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase (PAF-AH), a lipoprotein bound, calcium-independent phospholipase A2 activity also referred to as lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 or PLA2G7. PAF-AH catalyzes the removal of the acyl group at the sn-2 position of PAF and truncated phospholipids generated in settings of inflammation and oxidant stress.


Here, I discuss current knowledge related to the structural features of this enzyme, including the molecular basis for association with lipoproteins and susceptibility to oxidative inactivation. The circulating form of PAF-AH is constitutively active and its expression is upregulated by mediators of inflammation at the transcriptional level. This mechanism is likely responsible for the observed up-regulation of PAF-AH during atherosclerosis and suggests that increased expression of this enzyme is a physiological response to inflammatory stimuli. Administration of recombinant forms of PAF-AH attenuate inflammation in a variety of experimental models. Conversely, genetic deficiency of PAF-AH in defined human populations increases the severity of atherosclerosis and other syndromes. Recent advances pointing to an interplay among oxidized phospholipid substrates, Lp(a), and PAF-AH could hold the key to a number of unanswered questions.

Key words

PAF acetylhydrolase PAF-AH Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 Lp-PLA2 Platelet-activating factor PAF Inflammation Atherosclerosis 



This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant HL35828 and by the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. I am indebted to many students, trainees, technicians, and post-doctoral fellows for their contributions over the years. I also wish to express my gratitude to multiple long-time colleagues and collaborators.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Huntsman Cancer Institute and Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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