Targeting Apolipoproteins in Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Part of the Handbook of Modern Biophysics book series (HBBT)


Maintaining normal physiological homeostasis depends upon a coordinated metabolism of both water-soluble and -insoluble substrates. In humans the body derives these molecules — such as glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids — from complex food matter. Water-soluble substrates can circulate readily in blood, while water-insoluble molecules — such as fatty acid, triacylglycerol, and cholesterol — require ampiphathic carriers to transport them from the site of biosynthesis (liver and intestine) to the target tissue. For fatty acid, albumin serves as the major transporter. For triacylglycerol and cholesterol, however, macromolecular complexes aggregate the hydrophobic molecules into the core and cover the surface with amphiphatic proteins and phospholipids to solubilize the particles in the lymphatic and circulatory systems. These macromolecules belong to a class of proteins, plasma lipoproteins, with specific functions and cellular targets. In the clinic these lipoproteins prognosticate the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Lipoproteins divide usually into five major types: chylomicron, very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Each lipoprotein type exhibits characteristic density, size, and composition. As implied in the name, the density varies from the low-density chylomicron (<0.95 g/ml) to the high-density HDL (1.2 g/ml). Size also varies. The chylomicron has the largest diameter (75–1,200 nm), and HDL has the smallest (5–12 nm). The physical property variation arises from each lipoprotein’s distinct composition. In a chylomicron, cholesterol, triacylglycerol, and phospholipid predominate and constitute about 90% of the particle. Protein constitutes only about 10%. In contrast, the smaller HDL has less cholesterol, triacylglycerol, and phospholipid (65% of the particle) but more protein (over 30%).


Contrast Agent Cholesteryl Ester Familial Hypercholesteremia Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol Lecithin Cholesterol Acyl Transferase 
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Further Study

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Copyright information

© Humana Press 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry & Molecular MedicineUniversity of California Davis One Shields Avenue DavisCAUSA
  2. 2.Coordination and Radiochemistry Sart Tilman-B16 University of LiègeLiègeBelgium

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