Aliquots of human and nonhuman primate plasma containing 5,5′-dithiobis (2-nitrobenzoic acid) were incubated at 37°C in tubes previously coated with trace amounts of tritium-labeled cholesteryl oleate ([3H]CO). Initially, cholesteryl esters were transferred at a rapid rate into plasma after which the rate slowed. During 24 h of incubation, an average of 55% of the [3H]CO transffered from the side of the tube into African green monkey plasma, 44% into human plasma and 21% into rat plasma. Greater than 98% of the radioactive ester transferred into plasma was found to be associated with plasma lipoproteins that were then rapidly separated using vertical rotor density gradient ultracentrifugation. In very low density lipoprotein (VLDL)-poor plasma after 30 min incubations, high density lipoproteins (HDL) contained most of the [3H]CO while 5- to 24-h incubations resulted in increased labeling of low density proteins (LDL). In VLDL-rich plasma, it was found that in addition to the labeling of HDL, VLDL contained about 25% of the labeled cholesteryl esters after 30-min incubations and, as above, the proportion in LDL subsequently increased. Compositional analyses showed that intermediate-sized LDL (ILDL) were accumulating cholesteryl ester mass while transfer occurred. LDL labeled using this method were injected intravenously into monkeys and their removal from plasma was found to be similar to that found for LDL labeled in vivo. It was concluded that this method of plasma lipoprotein cholesteryl ester labeling, presumably a result of cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity, was efficient, resulted in lipoproteins labeled only in the cholesteryl ester moiety, and induced minimal modification of lipoprotein particles that did not alter their biological activity. © 1983.
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