Apolipoprotein

Apolipoprotein

[ap-uh-lip-uh-proh-teen, -tee-in, -lahy-puh-]
Apolipoproteins are proteins that bind to fats (lipids). They form lipoproteins, which transport dietary fats through the bloodstream. Dietary fats are digested in the intestine and carried to the liver. Fats are also synthesized in the liver itself. Fats are stored in fat cells (adipocytes). Fats are metabolized as needed for energy in the skeletal muscle, heart, and other organs, and secreted as milk from the breast.

The fatty, oily components of lipoproteins are not soluble in water. But because of their detergent-like (amphipathic) properties, apolipoproteins can dissolve them.

Apolipoproteins also serve as enzyme co-factors, receptor ligands, and lipid transfer carriers that regulate the metabolism of lipoproteins and their uptake in tissues.

Classes

There are six major classes of apolipoproteins, and several sub-classes:

Hundreds of genetic polymorphisms of the apolipoproteins have been described, and many of them alter their structure and function.

Synthesis and regulation

Apolipoprotein synthesis in the intestine is regulated principally by the fat content of the diet.

Apolipoprotein synthesis in the liver is controlled by a host of factors, including dietary composition, hormones (insulin, glucagon, thyroxin, estrogens, androgens), alcohol intake, and various drugs (statins, niacin,and fibric acids).

See also

External links

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