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1.  Genetic variants affecting alternative splicing of human cholesteryl ester transfer protein 
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) plays an important role in reverse cholesterol transport, with decreased CETP activity increasing HDL levels. Formation of an alternative splice form lacking exon 9 (Δ9-CETP) has been associated with two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in high linkage disequilibrium with each other, namely rs9930761 T>C located in intron 8 in a putative splicing branch site and rs5883 C>T in a possible exonic splicing enhancer (ESE) site in exon 9. To assess the relative effect of rs9930761 and rs5883 on splicing, mini-gene constructs spanning CETP exons 8 to 10, carrying all four possible allele combinations, were transfected into HEK293 and HepG2 cells. The minor T allele of rs5883 enhanced splicing significantly in both cell lines whereas the minor C allele of rs9930761 did not. In combination, the two alleles did not yield greater splicing than the rs5883 T allele alone in HepG2 cells. These results indicate that the genetic effect on CETP splicing is largely attributable to rs5883. We also confirm that Δ9-CETP protein is expressed in the liver but fails to circulate in the blood.
PMCID: PMC3929938  PMID: 24393849
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein; coronary artery disease; statin; alternative splicing; CETP levels in liver and plasma
2.  Regulation of CETP expression by upstream polymorphisms: Reduced expression associated with rs247616 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2015;25(8):394-401.
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is involved in reverse cholesterol transport by exchanging cholesteryl esters for triglycerides between HDL and LDL particles, effectively decreasing HDL cholesterol levels. Variants within a large haplotype block upstream of CETP (rs247616, rs173539) have been shown to be significantly associated with reduced expression; however, the underlying mechanism had not been identified.
We analyzed the linkage structure of our top candidate Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP), rs247616, and assessed each SNP of the haplotype block for potential interactions with transcription factor binding sites. We then used a reporter gene assay to assess the effect of 3 SNPs (rs247616, rs173539, and rs1723150) on expression in vitro.
Several variants in the upstream haplotype, including rs247616, rs173539, and rs1723150, disrupt or generate transcription factor binding sites. In reporter gene assays, rs247616 and rs173539 significantly affected expression in HepG2 cells, whereas and rs17231506 had no effect. rs247616 decreased expression 1.7-fold (p<0.0001), while rs173539 increased expression 2.2 fold (p=0.0006).
SNPs, rs247616 and rs173539, are in high linkage disequilibrium (R2=0.96, D’=1.00) and have the potential to regulate CETP expression. While opposing effects suggest that regulation of CETP expression could vary between tissues, the minor allele of rs247616 and SNPs in high linkage with it were found to be associated with reduced expression across all tissues.
PMCID: PMC4499003  PMID: 26061659
Cholesterol Metabolism; Molecular Genetics; Gene expression; Statins; Transcription; Genetics; HDL; LDL; CETP
3.  Genetic Variation in Cholesterol Ester Transfer Protein (CETP), Serum CETP Activity, and Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Risk in Asian Indian Diabetic Cohort 
Pharmacogenetics and Genomics  2012;22(2):95-104.
The role of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) in the metabolism of HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) is well studied but still controversial. More recently, GWAS and metaanalyses reported the association of a promoter variant (rs3764261) with HDL-C in Caucasians and other ethnic groups. In this study, we have examined the role of genetic variation in the promoter region of CETP with HDL-C, CETP activity, coronary artery disease (CAD), CAD risk factors, and the interaction of genetic factors with environment in a unique diabetic cohort of Asian Indian Sikhs.
Methods and Results
We genotyped four variants; three tagSNPs from promoter (rs3764261, rs12447924, rs4783961) and one intronic variant (rs708272 Taq1B) on 2,431 individuals from the Sikh Diabetes Study. Two variants (rs3764261 and rs708272) exhibited a strong associations with HDL-C in both normo-glycemic (NG) controls (β= 0.12; p= 9.35 ×10−7 for rs3764261; β= 0.10, p= 0.002 for rs708272) and diabetic cases (β= 0.07, p= 0.016 for rs3764261; β= 0.08, p= 0.005 for rs708272) with increased levels among minor homozygous ‘AA’ carriers. In addition, the same ‘A’ allele carriers in rs376426 showed a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (β= −0.08, p= 0.002) in NG controls. Haplotype analysis of rs3764261, rs12447924, rs4783961, and rs708272 further revealed a significant association of ‘ATAA’ haplotype with increased HDL-C (β= 2.71, p= 6.38 ×10−5) and ‘CTAG’ haplotype with decreased HDL–C levels (β= −1.78, p= 2.5×10−2). Although there was no direct association of CETP activity and CETP polymorphisms, low CETP activity was associated with increased risk to CAD (age, BMI and gender adjusted odds ratio 2.2 95% CI (1.4–3.4, p= 0.001) in this study. Our data revealed a strong interaction of rs3764261 and rs708272 for affecting the association between CETP activity and HDL–C levels; p= 2.2 × 10−6, and p= 4.4 × 10−4, respectively.
Our results, in conjunction with earlier reports confirm low CETP activity to be associated with higher CAD risk. Although there was no direct association of CETP activity with CETP polymorphisms, our findings revealed a significant interaction between CETP SNPs and CETP activity for affecting HDL-C levels. These results urge a deeper evaluation of the individual genetic variation in the CETP before implementing pharmaceutical intervention of blocking CETP for preventing CAD events.
PMCID: PMC3269125  PMID: 22143414
4.  Profound induction of hepatic cholesteryl ester transfer protein transgene expression in apolipoprotein E and low density lipoprotein receptor gene knockout mice. A novel mechanism signals changes in plasma cholesterol levels. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1996;97(1):154-161.
The plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) mediates the transfer of cholesteryl esters from HDL to other lipoproteins and is a key regulated component of reverse cholesterol transport. Dietary hypercholesterolemia results in increased hepatic CETP gene transcription and higher plasma CETP levels. To investigate the mechanisms by which the liver senses hypercholesterolemia, mice containing a natural flanking region CETP transgene (NFR-CETP transgene) were bred with apo E or LDL receptor gene knockout mice (E0 or LDLr0 mice). Compared to NFR-CETP transgenic (Tg) mice with intact apo E genes, in NFR-CETP Tg/E0 mice there was an eightfold induction of plasma CETP levels and a parallel increase in hepatic CETP mRNA levels. Other sterol-responsive genes (LDL receptor and hydroxymethyl glutaryl CoA reductase) also showed evidence of altered regulation with decreased abundance of their mRNAs in the E0 background. A similar induction of plasma CETP and hepatic CETP mRNA levels resulted from breeding the NFR-CETP transgene into the LDL receptor gene knockout background. When placed on a high cholesterol diet, there was a further increase in CETP levels in both E0 and LDLr0 backgrounds. In CETP Tg, CETP Tg/E0, and CETP Tg/LDLr0 mice on different diets, plasma CETP and CETP mRNA levels were highly correlated with plasma cholesterol levels. The results indicate that hepatic CETP gene expression is driven by a mechanism which senses changes in plasma cholesterol levels independent of apo E and LDL receptors. Hepatic sterol-sensitive genes have mechanisms to sense hypercholesterolemia that do not require classical receptor-mediated lipoprotein uptake.
PMCID: PMC507074  PMID: 8550828
5.  TaqIB and severity of coronary artery disease in the Turkish population: a pilot study 
The cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) plays a crucial role in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism. Genetic variants that alter CETP concentration may cause significant alterations in HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration. In this case-control study, we analyzed the genotype frequencies of CETP Taq1B polymorphisms in coronary artery disease patients (CAD; n=210) and controls (n=100). We analyzed the role of the CETP Taq1B variant in severity of CAD, and its association with plasma lipids and CETP concentration. DNA was extracted from 310 patients undergoing coronary angiography. The Taq1B polymorphism was genotyped using polymerase chain reaction—restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. Lipid concentrations were measured by an auto analyzer and CETP level by a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit. In our study population, the B2 allele frequency was higher in control subjects than patients with single, double or triple vessel disease. B2B2 genotype carriers had a significantly higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration than those with the B1B1 genotype in controls (51.93±9.47 versus 45.34±9.93; p<0.05) and in CAD patients (45.52±10.81 versus 40.38±9.12; p<0.05). B2B2 genotype carriers had a significantly lower CETP concentration than those with the B1B1 genotype in controls (1.39±0.58 versus 1.88±0.83; p< 0.05) and in CAD patients (2.04±1.39versus 2.81±1.68; p< 0.05). Our data suggest that the B2 allele is associated with higher concentrations of HDL-C and lower concentrations of CETP, which confer a protective effect on coronary artery disease.
PMCID: PMC4365681  PMID: 25725138
CETP; coronary artery disease; HDL-C
6.  Serum CETP status is independently associated with reduction rates in LDL-C in pitavastatin-treated diabetic patients and possible involvement of LXR in its association 
Statins decrease cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) levels, which have been positively associated with hepatic lipid content as well as serum low density lipoproteins-cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. However, the relationship between the CETP status and statin-induced reductions in LDL-C levels has not yet been elucidated in detail. We herein examined the influence of the CETP status on the lipid-reducing effects of pitavastatin in hypercholesterolemic patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus as well as the molecular mechanism underlying pitavastatin-induced modifications in CETP levels.
Fifty-three patients were treated with 2 mg of pitavastatin for 3 months. Serum levels of LDL-C, small dense (sd) LDL-C, and CETP were measured before and after the pitavastatin treatment. The effects of pitavastatin, T0901317, a specific agonist for liver X receptor (LXR) that reflects hepatic cholesterol contents, and LXR silencing on CETP mRNA expression in HepG2 cells were also examined by a real-time PCR assay.
The pitavastatin treatment decreased LDL-C, sdLDL-C, and CETP levels by 39, 42, and 23 %, respectively. Despite the absence of a significant association between CETP and LDL-C levels at baseline, baseline CETP levels and its percentage change were an independent positive determinant for the changes observed in LDL-C and sdLDL-C levels. The LXR activation with T0901317 (0.5 μM), an in vitro condition analogous to hepatic cholesterol accumulation, increased CETP mRNA levels in HepG2 cells by approximately 220 %, while LXR silencing markedly diminished the increased expression of CETP. Pitavastatin (5 μM) decreased basal CETP mRNA levels by 21 %, and this was completely reversed by T0901317.
Baseline CETP levels may predict the lipid-reducing effects of pitavastatin. Pitavastatin-induced CETP reductions may be partially attributed to decreased LXR activity, predictable by the ensuing decline in hepatic cholesterol synthesis.
Trial registration
UMIN Clinical Trials Registry ID UMIN000019020
PMCID: PMC4794860  PMID: 26984517
CETP; Pitavastatin; Liver X receptor; T0901317; Small dense LDL-C
7.  Genetic cholesteryl ester transfer protein deficiency caused by two prevalent mutations as a major determinant of increased levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1994;94(5):1872-1882.
Genetic determinants of HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) levels in the general population are poorly understood. We previously described plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) deficiency due to an intron 14 G(+1)-to-A mutation(Int14 A) in several families with very high HDL-C levels in Japan. Subjects with HDL-C > or = 100 mg/dl (n = 130) were screened by PCR single strand conformational polymorphism analysis of the CETP gene. Two other mutations were identified by DNA sequencing or primer-mediated restriction map modification of PCR products: a novel intron 14 splice donor site mutation caused by a T insertion at position +3 from the exon14/intron14 boundary (Int14 T) and a missense mutation (Asp442 to Gly) within exon 15 (D442G). The Int14 T mutation was only found in one family. However, the D442G and Int14 A mutations were highly prevalent in subjects with HDL-C > or = 60 mg/dl, with combined allele frequencies of 9%, 12%, 21% and 43% for HDL-C 60-79, 80-99, 100-119, and > or = 120 mg/dl, respectively. Furthermore, prevalences of the D442G and Int14 A mutations were extremely high in a general sample of Japanese men (n = 236), with heterozygote frequencies of 7% and 2%, respectively. These two mutations accounted for about 10% of the total variance of HDL-C in this population. The phenotype in a genetic compound heterozygote (Int14 T and Int14 A) was similar to that of Int14 A homozygotes (no detectable CETP and markedly increased HDL-C), indicating that the Int14 T produces a null allele. In four D442G homozygotes, mean HDL-C levels (86 +/- 26 mg/dl) were lower than in Int14 A homozygotes (158 +/- 35 mg/dl), reflecting residual CETP activity in plasma. In 47 D442G heterozygotes, mean HDL-C levels were 91 +/- 23 mg/dl, similar to the level in D442G homozygotes, and significantly greater than mean HDL-C levels in Int14 A heterozygotes (69 +/- 15 mg/dl). Thus, the D442G mutation acts differently to the null mutations with weaker effects on HDL in the homozygous state and stronger effects in the heterozygotes, suggesting dominant expression of a partially defective allele. CETP deficiency, reflecting two prevalent mutations (D442G and Int14 A), is the first example of a genetic deficiency state which is sufficiently common to explain a significant fraction of the variation in HDL-C in the general population.
PMCID: PMC305391  PMID: 7962532
8.  Decreased cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) mRNA and protein and increased high density lipoprotein following lipopolysaccharide administration in human CETP transgenic mice. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1995;95(4):1587-1594.
The plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) mediates the exchange of HDL cholesteryl esters (CE) and VLDL triglycerides leading to catabolism of HDL. There is some evidence that HDL ameliorates the toxicity of LPS, and LPS is known to influence several enzymes affecting HDL metabolism. Therefore, the effects of LPS on CETP and plasma lipoproteins were examined in human CETP transgenic mice. Administration of LPS to mice expressing a CETP transgene linked to its natural flanking sequences (NFR-CETP Tg) resulted in a rapid marked decrease in hepatic CETP mRNA and plasma CETP concentration. Corticosteroid injection produced a similar decrease in hepatic CETP mRNA and adrenalectomy abolished this response to LPS. LPS caused disproportionate reductions in plasma CETP activity compared to mass, and was found to be a potent inhibitor of CETP activity when added directly to plasma. LPS was injected into mice expressing (A) a human apoA-I transgene, (B) apoA-I and NFR-CETP transgenes, or (C) apoA-I and LPS-inducible metallothionein promoter-driven CETP transgenes, producing (A) minimal changes in HDL cholesterol, (B) decreased plasma CETP and increased HDL cholesterol, and (C) increased plasma CETP and decreased HDL cholesterol. Thus, LPS administration produces a profound decrease in hepatic CETP mRNA, primarily as a result of adrenal corticosteroid release. The decrease in plasma CETP activity after LPS administration may reflect both this effect as well as a direct interaction between CETP and LPS. The decrease of CETP in response to LPS has major effects on HDL levels, and may represent an adaptive response to preserve or increase HDL and thereby modify the response to LPS.
PMCID: PMC295654  PMID: 7706465
9.  c.*84G>A Mutation in CETP Is Associated with Coronary Artery Disease in South Indians 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(10):e0164151.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide. It is a multi-factorial disease and several studies have demonstrated that the genetic factors play a major role in CAD. Although variations in cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene are reported to be associated with CAD, this gene has not been studied in South Indian populations. Hence we evaluated the CETP gene variations in CAD patients of South Indian origin.
We sequenced all the exons, exon-intron boundaries and UTRs of CETP in 323 CAD patients along with 300 ethnically and age matched controls. Variations observed in CETP were subjected to various statistical analyses.
Results and Discussion
Our analysis revealed a total of 13 variations. Of these, one3’UTRvariant rs1801706 (c.*84G>A) was significantly associated with CAD (genotype association test: OR = 2.16, 95% CI: 1.50–3.10, p = 1.88x10-5 and allelic association test: OR = 1.92, 95% CI: 1.40–2.63, p = 2.57x10-5). Mutant allele “A” was observed to influence the higher concentration of mRNA (p = 7.09×10−3, R2 = 0.029 and β = 0.2163). Since expression of CETP has been shown to be positively correlated with the risk of CAD, higher frequency of “A” allele (patients: 22.69% vs.controls: 13%) reveals that c.*84G>A is a risk factor for CAD in South Indians.
This is the first report of the CETP gene among South Indians CAD patients. Our results suggest that rs1801706 (c.*84G>A) is a risk factor for CAD in South Indian population.
PMCID: PMC5074517  PMID: 27768712
10.  Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein Genetic Polymorphisms, HDL Cholesterol, and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2008;200(2):359-367.
The cholesteryl ester transport protein (CETP) plays a key role in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism. Genetic variants that alter CETP activity and concentration may cause significant alterations in HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration; however, controversies remain about whether these genetic variants are associated with atherosclerosis. We genotyped the CETP R451Q, A373P, -629C/A, Taq1B, and -2505C/A polymorphisms in a cohort of Caucasian, Chinese, African-American, and Hispanic individuals within the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Genotypes were examined in relationship to HDL-C, CETP activity, CETP concentration, and three measures of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD): coronary artery calcium (CAC) measured by fast CT scanning, and carotid intimal-medial thickness (IMT) and carotid artery plaque, measured by ultrasonography. Carriers of the 451Q and 373P alleles have significantly higher CETP concentration (22.4% and 19.5%, respectively; p<0.001) and activity (13.1% and 9.4%, respectively; p<0.01) and lower HDL-C (5.6% and 6.0%, respectively; p<0.05). The minor alleles of the R451Q and A373P polymorphisms are associated with the presence of CAC, even after adjusting for CVD risk factors and HDL-C (p=0.006 and p=0.01, respectively). The R451Q polymorphism is also associated with presence of carotid artery plaque (p=0.036). Neither polymorphism is associated with common or internal carotid IMT. We confirmed that the -629A, Taq1B B2, and -2505A alleles are significantly associated with lower CETP concentration (20.8%, 25.0%, and 23.7%, respectively; p<0.001) and activity (14.8%, 19.8%, and 18.4%, respectively; p<0.001) and higher HDL-C concentration (9.7%, 11.5%, and 10.4%, respectively; p<0.01). However, we did not find any associations between these non-coding polymorphisms and subclinical CVD.
PMCID: PMC3612981  PMID: 18243217
11.  Plasma lipid transfer protein as a determinant of the atherogenicity of monkey plasma lipoproteins. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1991;87(5):1559-1566.
This study was undertaken to determine potential tissue sources of plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP), and to assess the influence of CETP on lipoprotein concentrations and atherosclerosis. In a group of 28 cynomolgus monkeys fed high fat, high cholesterol diets, plasma CETP concentration was strongly correlated with the abundance of CETP mRNA in liver and in adipose tissue, and with the output of CETP in liver perfusates. Plasma CETP concentration showed a strong inverse correlation with HDL cholesterol concentrations (r = -0.62, P less than 0.001) and a positive correlation with LDL cholesterol concentration (r = 0.54, P less than 0.005) and molecular weight (r = 0.57, P less than 0.001). The extent of coronary artery atherosclerosis was positively correlated with LDL cholesterol concentration and molecular weight, and with plasma CETP concentration. Thus, in monkeys fed an atherogenic diet, individual variation in CETP mRNA abundance in liver and adipose tissue probably plays a major role in the determination of plasma CETP levels. In plasma, CETP influences the distribution of cholesteryl esters between LDL and HDL, and CETP concentration appears to be a key determinant of the relative atherogenicity of the plasma lipoproteins.
PMCID: PMC295238  PMID: 2022728
12.  A Vaccine Targeted at CETP Alleviates High Fat and High Cholesterol Diet-Induced Atherosclerosis and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis in Rabbit 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e111529.
Low HDL-C levels are associated with atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and increased levels may reduce the risk of these diseases. Inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) activity is considered a promising strategy for increasing HDL-C levels. Since CETP is a self-antigen with low immunogenicity, we developed a novel CETP vaccine (Fc-CETP6) to overcome the low immunogenicity of CETP and for long-term inhibition of CETP activity. The vaccine consists of a rabbit IgG Fc domain for antigen delivery to antigen-presenting cells fused to a linear array of 6 repeats of a CETP epitope to efficiently activate B cells. Rabbits were fed a high fat/cholesterol (HFC) diet to induce atherosclerosis and NASH, and immunized with Fc-CETP6 vaccine. The Fc-CETP6 vaccine successfully elicited anti-CETP antibodies and lowered plasma CETP activity. The levels of plasma HDL-C and ApoA-I were higher, and plasma ox-LDL lower, in the Fc-CETP6-immunized rabbits as compared to the unimmunized HFC diet-fed rabbits. Pathological analyses revealed less lipid accumulation and inflammation in the aorta and liver of the Fc-CETP6-immunized rabbits. These results show that the Fc-CETP6 vaccine efficiently elicited antibodies against CETP and reduced susceptibility to both atherosclerosis and steatohepatitis induced by the HFC diet. Our findings suggest that the Fc-CETP6 vaccine may improve atherosclerosis and NASH and has high potential for clinical use.
PMCID: PMC4259298  PMID: 25486007
13.  Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) expression does not affect glucose homeostasis and insulin secretion: studies in human CETP transgenic mice 
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is a plasma protein that mediates the exchange of triglycerides for esterified cholesterol between HDL and apoB-lipoproteins. Previous studies suggest that CETP may modify glucose metabolism in patients or cultured cells. In this study, we tested if stable CETP expression would impair glucose metabolism.
We used human CETP transgenic mice and non-transgenic littermate controls (NTg), fed with control or high fat diet, as well as in dyslipidemic background and aging conditions. Assays included glucose and insulin tolerance tests, isolated islets insulin secretion, tissue glucose uptake and adipose tissue GLUT mRNA expression.
CETP expression did not modify glucose or insulin tolerance in all tested conditions such as chow and high fat diet, adult and aged mice, normo and dyslipidemic backgrounds. Fasting and fed state plasma levels of insulin were not differ in CETP and NTg mice. Direct measurements of isolated pancreatic islet insulin secretion rates induced by glucose (11, 16.7 or 22 mM), KCl (40 mM), and leucine (10 mM) were similar in NTg and CETP mice, indicating that CETP expression did not affect β-cell function in vivo and ex vivo. Glucose uptake by insulin target tissues, measured in vivo using 3H-2-deoxyglucose, showed that CETP expression had no effect on the glucose uptake in liver, muscle, perigonadal, perirenal, subcutaneous and brown adipose tissues. Accordingly, GLUT1 and GLUT4 mRNA in adipose tissue were not affected by CETP.
In summary, by comparing the in vivo all-or-nothing CETP expressing mouse models, we demonstrated that CETP per se has no impact on the glucose tolerance and tissue uptake, global insulin sensitivity and beta cell insulin secretion rates.
PMCID: PMC4711172  PMID: 26758205
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP); Glucose homeostasis; Insulin sensitivity; Glucose uptake
14.  CETP TaqIB Polymorphism, Serum Lipid Levels And Risk Of Atrial Fibrillation: A Case-Control Study  
The cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) mediates the transfer of cholesteryl esters from high-density lipoproteins (HDL) to triglyceride (TG)-rich lipoproteins. A consistent number of investigations has suggested an association between the TaqIB polymorphism of the CETP gene, plasma HDL-C levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease, but the results are controversial.
The aim of this study was to determine if the TaqIB polymorphism might be related to the presence of atrial fibrillation (AF).
We conducted a case-control study, enrolling 109 Caucasian unrelated patients coming from Salento (Southern Italy) with documented AF and 109 controls selected from the same ward. The CETP TaqIB genotypes were determined by RFLP-PCR.
The subjects with the B2B2 genotype seem to be more susceptible to AF development (OR=2.28, 95% CI 1.06-4.89, p=0.032). The AF incidence is higher if we consider only the female subgroup (OR=5.14, 95% CI 1.57-16.82, p=0.0061). In the AF female subgroup the B2B2 patients had a statistically significant decrease of HDL-C levels (1.50 ± 0.35 vs 2.07 ± 0.42; p=0.012) and statistically higher TG levels (1.34 ± 0.46 vs 0.77 ± 0.14; p=0.027) and TG/HDL-C ratio (2.14 ± 0.80 vs 0.88 ± 0.23; p=0.007) when compared to B2B2 female control subjects. When we analyzed the linkage between the TaqIB polymorphism and the promoter variant (-629C/A), we found that 100% of the B2 alleles of the TaqIB polymorphism were associated with the A alleles of the -629 promoter polymorphism in our subjects.
This study suggests that in post-menopausal women atrial fibrillation could be promoted by the association of CETP B2B2/AA genotype with higher triglycerides values.
PMCID: PMC5135230  PMID: 27957053
15.  Cholesteryl ester transfer protein protects against insulin resistance in obese female mice★ 
Molecular Metabolism  2013;2(4):457-467.
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) shuttles lipids between lipoproteins, culminating in cholesteryl ester delivery to liver and increased secretion of cholesterol as bile. Since gut bile acids promote insulin sensitivity, we aimed to define if CETP improves insulin sensitivity with high-fat feeding. CETP and nontransgenic mice of both sexes became obese. Female but not male CETP mice had increased ileal bile acid levels versus nontransgenic littermates. CETP expression protected female mice from insulin resistance but had a minimal effect in males. In liver, female CETP mice showed activation of bile acid-sensitive pathways including Erk1/2 phosphorylation and Fxr and Shp gene expression. In muscle, CETP females showed increased glycolysis, increased mRNA for Dio2, and increased Akt phosphorylation, known effects of bile acid signaling. These results suggest that CETP can ameliorate insulin resistance associated with obesity in female mice, an effect that correlates with increased gut bile acids and known bile-signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC3854988  PMID: 24327961
Insulin resistance; Obesity; Cholesterol; Bile; Glucose; Sex-differences
16.  Ciprofibrate increases cholesteryl ester transfer protein gene expression and the indirect reverse cholesterol transport to the liver 
CETP is a plasma protein that modulates atherosclerosis risk through its HDL-cholesterol reducing action. The aim of this work was to examine the effect of the PPARα agonist, ciprofibrate, on the CETP gene expression, in the presence and absence of apolipoprotein (apo) CIII induced hypertriglyceridemia, and its impact on the HDL metabolism.
Mice expressing apo CIII and/or CETP and non-transgenic littermates (CIII, CIII/CETP, CETP, non-Tg) were treated with ciprofibrate during 3 weeks. Drug treatment reduced plasma triglycerides (30-43%) and non-esterified fatty acids (19-47%) levels. Cholesterol (chol) distribution in plasma lipoprotein responses to ciprofibrate treatment was dependent on the genotypes. Treated CIII expressing mice presented elevation in VLDL-chol and reduction in HDL-chol. Treated CETP expressing mice responded with reduction in LDL-chol whereas in non-Tg mice the LDL-chol increased. In addition, ciprofibrate increased plasma post heparin lipoprotein lipase activity (1.3-2.1 fold) in all groups but hepatic lipase activity decreased in treated CETP and non-Tg mice. Plasma CETP activity and liver CETP mRNA levels were significantly increased in treated CIII/CETP and CETP mice (30-100%). Kinetic studies with 3H-cholesteryl ether (CEt) labelled HDL showed a 50% reduction in the 3H-CEt found in the LDL fraction in ciprofibrate treated compared to non-treated CETP mice. This means that 3H-CEt transferred from HDL to LDL was more efficiently removed from the plasma in the fibrate treated mice. Accordingly, the amount of 3H-CEt recovered in the liver 6 hours after HDL injection was increased by 35%.
Together these data showed that the PPARα agonist ciprofibrate stimulates CETP gene expression and changes the cholesterol flow through the reverse cholesterol transport, increasing plasma cholesterol removal through LDL.
PMCID: PMC2784759  PMID: 19930639
17.  Lipid Exchange Mechanism of the Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein Clarified by Atomistic and Coarse-grained Simulations 
PLoS Computational Biology  2012;8(1):e1002299.
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) transports cholesteryl esters, triglycerides, and phospholipids between different lipoprotein fractions in blood plasma. The inhibition of CETP has been shown to be a sound strategy to prevent and treat the development of coronary heart disease. We employed molecular dynamics simulations to unravel the mechanisms associated with the CETP-mediated lipid exchange. To this end we used both atomistic and coarse-grained models whose results were consistent with each other. We found CETP to bind to the surface of high density lipoprotein (HDL) -like lipid droplets through its charged and tryptophan residues. Upon binding, CETP rapidly (in about 10 ns) induced the formation of a small hydrophobic patch to the phospholipid surface of the droplet, opening a route from the core of the lipid droplet to the binding pocket of CETP. This was followed by a conformational change of helix X of CETP to an open state, in which we found the accessibility of cholesteryl esters to the C-terminal tunnel opening of CETP to increase. Furthermore, in the absence of helix X, cholesteryl esters rapidly diffused into CETP through the C-terminal opening. The results provide compelling evidence that helix X acts as a lid which conducts lipid exchange by alternating the open and closed states. The findings have potential for the design of novel molecular agents to inhibit the activity of CETP.
Author Summary
Coronary heart disease is a major cause of death in the Western societies. One of the most promising interventions to prevent and slow down the progress of coronary heart disease is the elevation of high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels in circulation. Animal models together with early clinical studies have shown that the inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is a promising strategy to achieve higher HDL levels. However, drugs with acceptable side-effects for CETP-inhibition do not yet exist, although the next generation CETP inhibitor (anacetrapib) has great potential in this regard. In this study, our objective is to gain more detailed information regarding the interactions of CETP with lipoprotein particles. We show how the CETP-lipoprotein complex is formed and how lipid exchange between CETP and lipoprotein particles takes place. Our findings help to understand in a mechanistic way how CETP-mediated lipid exchange occurs and how it could be exploited in the design of new and more efficient molecular agents against coronary heart disease.
PMCID: PMC3257282  PMID: 22253581
18.  Future of Cholesterol Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) inhibitors: A Pharmacological Perspective 
Clinical pharmacokinetics  2013;52(8):615-626.
In almost 30 years since the introduction of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), no other class of lipid modulators has entered the market. Elevation of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) via inhibiting cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is an attractive strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular events in high-risk patients. Triglyceride and cholesteryl ester (CE) transfer between lipoproteins is mediated by CETP; thus inhibition of this pathway increases the concentration of HDL-C. Torcetrapib was the first CETP inhibitor evaluated in Phase 3 clinical trials. Because of off-target effects, torcetrapib raised blood pressure and increased the concentration of serum aldosterone leading to higher cardiovascular events and mortality. Torcetrapib showed positive effects on the cardiovascular risk especially in patients with a greater increase in HDL-C and Apolipoprotein A-1 (apoA-1) levels.
The Phase 3 clinical trial of dalcetrapib, the second CETP inhibitor that has entered clinical development, was terminated because of ineffectiveness. Dalcetrapib is a CETP modulator that elevated HDL-C level but did not reduce the concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Both heterotypic and homotypic CE transfer between lipoproteins are mediated by some CETP inhibitors including torcetrapib, anacetrapib and evacetrapib while dalcetrapib only affect the heterotypic CE transfer. Dalcetrapib has a chemical structure that is distinct from other CETP inhibitors with smaller molecular weight and lack of trifluoride moieties. Dalcetrapib is a pro-drug that must be hydrolyzed to a pharmacologically active thiol form.
Two other CETP inhibitors, anacetrapib and evacetrapib, are currently undergoing evaluation in Phase 3 clinical trial. Both molecules have shown beneficial effects by increasing HDL-C and decreasing LDL-C concentration. The success of anacetrapib and evacetrapib will remain to be confirmed upon the completion of Phase 3 clinical trials in 2017 and 2015, respectively.
Generally, the concentration of HDL-C has been considered as biomarker for the activity of CETP inhibitors. However, it is not clear whether a fundamental relationship exist between HDL-C and the risk of coronary artery diseases (CAD). The most crucial role for HDL-C is cholesterol efflux capacity in which HDL can reverse transport cholesterol from foam cells in atherosclerotic plaques. In view of the heterogeneity in HDL-C particle size, charge, and composition, the mere concentration of HDL-C may not be a good surrogate marker for HDL functionality. Recent clinical studies reported that increased HDL-C functionality inversely correlate with the development of atherosclerotic plaque. Future development of CETP inhibitors may therefore benefit from the use of biomarkers that better predict HDL functionality.
PMCID: PMC3720705  PMID: 23658137
19.  Elevated CETP lipid transfer activity is associated with the risk of venous thromboembolism 
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is an important lipid transfer factor in plasma that enhances prothrombinase activity in purified systems. This study was conducted to test the association of plasma CETP activity with venous thrombosis (VTE) and to address the procoagulant mechanism of CETP activity in prothrombinase assays.
We measured CETP lipid transfer activity in plasmas of 49 male VTE patients and in plasmas of matched controls. CETP procoagulant activity was tested in purified prothrombinase systems.
CETP lipid transfer activity levels were significantly higher in VTE patients than in controls (p = 0.0008). A subset of patients carrying the CETP mutations Ala373Pro and Arg451Gln, which were also linked to the VTE risk, showed significantly higher plasma CETP activity than the non-carriers. The plasma CETP activity negatively correlated with APTT, suggesting that the CETP activity is associated with plasma coagulability. Recombinant (r) CETP bound to both factor Xa (Kd = 15 nM) and Gla-domainless factor Xa (Kd = 59 nM), whereas rCETP enhanced prothrombin activation by factor Xa, but not by Gla-domainless factor Xa. rCETP also required factor Va for enhancement of prothrombinase activity. When we addressed the effects of mutations in CETP on prothrombinase activity, Gln451-rCETP was found to have five-fold higher thrombin generation activity than wt-rCETP or Pro373-rCETP.
Elevated CETP lipid transfer activity in plasma was associated with the risk of VTE. Gln451-CETP, which is linked to VTE, has much higher procoagulant activity than wt-CETP. CETP might act as a physiologic procoagulant by mechanisms that involve its direct binding to factor Xa.
PMCID: PMC5064881  PMID: 27169917
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein; venous thrombosis; prothrombinase
20.  Elevated CETP Lipid Transfer Activity is Associated with the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism 
Aim: Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is an important lipid transfer factor in plasma that enhances prothrombinase activity in purified systems. This study was conducted to test the association of plasma CETP activity with venous thrombosis (VTE) and to address the procoagulant mechanism of CETP activity in prothrombinase assays.
Methods: We measured CETP lipid transfer activity in plasmas of 49 male VTE patients and in plasmas of matched controls. CETP procoagulant activity was tested in purified prothrombinase systems.
Results: CETP lipid transfer activity levels were significantly higher in VTE patients than in controls (p = 0.0008). A subset of patients carrying the CETP mutations Ala373Pro and Arg451Gln, which were also linked to the VTE risk, showed significantly higher plasma CETP activity than the non-carriers. The plasma CETP activity negatively correlated with APTT, suggesting that the CETP activity is associated with plasma coagulability. Recombinant (r) CETP bound to both factor Xa (Kd = 15 nM) and Gla-domainless factor Xa (Kd = 59 nM), whereas rCETP enhanced prothrombin activation by factor Xa, but not by Gla-domainless factor Xa. rCETP also required factor Va for enhancement of prothrombinase activity. When we addressed the effects of mutations in CETP on prothrombinase activity, Gln451-rCETP was found to have five-fold higher thrombin generation activity than wt-rCETP or Pro373-rCETP.
Conclusions: Elevated CETP lipid transfer activity in plasma was associated with the risk of VTE. Gln451-CETP, which is linked to VTE, has much higher procoagulant activity than wt-CETP. CETP might act as a physiologic procoagulant by mechanisms that involve its direct binding to factor Xa.
PMCID: PMC5064881  PMID: 27169917
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein; Venous thrombosis; Prothrombinase
21.  The Relationship Between Genetic Variations of the Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein Gene and Coronary Artery Disease in Turkish Subjects 
Although the relationship between cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) and cholesterol metabolism has been characterized in recent years, the effect of CETP genetic variants associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) is still unclear. Therefore, we investigated the association between CETP gene polymorphism and levels of lipid in patients with CAD.
Materials and Methods
We conducted a case-control study that included 194 unrelated subjects who underwent coronary angiography for suspected ischemic heart disease. This group was divided into 96 patients with angiographically documented CAD and 98 subjects (individuals matched for age and gender) without angiographically documented CAD (CAD-free subjects), all of whom were studied to examine the genotypic distribution of the CETP gene polymorphism in CAD. Genotyping was performed via polymerase chain reaction.
Of the 96 patients with CAD, 38 (40%) were B1B1, 42 (44%) B1B2 and 16 (16%) B2B2, compared with the control subjects, of which 35 (36%) were B1B1, 44 (45%) B1B2 and 19 (19%) B2B2. There were no significant differences between patients with CAD and control subjects in the distribution of the CETP gene polymorphism. Patients with the B1B1 genotype had lower high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and higher triglyceride (TG) levels than patients with the B2B2 genotype (p<0.05). In addition, among control subjects HDL-C levels were significantly higher in subjects with the B2B2 genotype than in subjects with the B1B1 genotype (p<0.01).
Our results suggest that genetic variations of the CTEP gene may be responsible for low HDL-C levels but may not be considered as a risk factor for CAD in the Turkish population.
PMCID: PMC4261653  PMID: 25610061
Coronary artery disease; Coronary angiography; Cholesteryl ester transfer protein; Genetic
22.  CETP gene polymorphisms and risk of coronary atherosclerosis in a Chinese population 
Coronary atherosclerosis, the most common form of coronary artery disease (CAD), is characterized by accumulation of lipid in the walls of coronary arteries. Recent data from clinical trials have showed that high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) has causal role in the pathogenesis and development of coronary atherosclerosis. Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is an important regulator of plasma HDL-C. Several genetic mutations in the CETP gene were found to be associated with HDL-C levels. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the association of HDL-C-related CETP polymorphisms and risk of coronary atherosclerosis.
We investigated the association of seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) (rs1800775, rs708272, rs5882, rs1532624, rs1864163, rs7499892, and rs9989419) in the CETP gene with the risk of coronary atherosclerosis and levels of HDL-C in a case–control study in China. Included in the study were 420 patients with coronary atherosclerosis and 424 healthy controls. SNP genotyping was performed by TaqMan allelic discrimination assay and serum lipid levels were measured by standard laboratory methods.
Carriers of the AA and GA + AA genotypes of rs708272 had significant lower risks of coronary atherosclerosis (OR = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.36-0.85, p = 0.003; OR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.50-0.90, p = 0.007, respectively) compared to those with GG genotype. These relations remained significant after adjustment for confounding effects of age, smoking, diabetes and hypertension. The rs1800775 polymorphism was significantly associated with serum levels of HDL-C in healthy controls (p = 0.04). Besides, rs708272 was in close linkage disequilibrium (LD) with rs1800775 in this study.
Our findings indicated that CETP rs708272 may be associated with the risk of coronary atherosclerosis and rs1800775 may influence serum HDL-C levels in healthy controls in Chinese.
PMCID: PMC4220746  PMID: 24283500
Coronary atherosclerosis; CETP; Genetic mutation; HDL-C
23.  CETP inhibitors and cardiovascular disease: Time to think again 
F1000Research  2014;3:124.
Inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) lowers plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration and raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, suggesting it might prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). From the outset, however, the concept has been controversial owing to uncertainty about its effects on HDL function and reverse cholesterol transport (RCT). Although there has long been good evidence that CETP inhibition reduces atherosclerosis in rabbits, the first information on CETP as a CVD risk factor in a prospectively followed cohort was not published until after the first Phase 3 trial of a CETP inhibitor had begun. The worrying finding that CVD incidence was related inversely to plasma CETP has since been reproduced in each of five further prospective cohort studies. Similar results were obtained in subjects on or off statin therapy, for first and second CVD events, and for mortality as well as CVD morbidity. Additionally, two recent studies have found alleles of the CETP gene that lower hepatic CETP secretion to be associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction. Meanwhile, CETP gene transfer in mice was found to increase RCT from peripheral macrophages in vivo, and human plasma with high CETP activity was shown to have a greater capacity to remove cholesterol from cultured cells than plasma with low activity. This mounting evidence for a protective function of CETP has been given remarkably little attention, and indeed was not mentioned in several recent reviews.  It appears to show that CETP inhibition does not test the HDL hypothesis as originally hoped, and raises a pressing ethical issue regarding two Phase 3 trials of inhibitors, involving more than forty thousand subjects, which are currently in progress. As the weight of evidence now clearly supports an adverse effect of CETP inhibition on CVD, an urgent review is needed to determine if these trials should be discontinued.
PMCID: PMC4149245  PMID: 25187879
24.  Associations of Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein TaqIB Polymorphism with the Composite Ischemic Cardiovascular Disease Risk and HDL-C Concentrations: A Meta-Analysis 
Background: Previous studies have evaluated the associations between the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) TaqIB polymorphism (rs708272), the risk of developing composite ischemic cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the concentration of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), but results remain controversial. The objective of this study was to investigate whether a relationship exists between these factors. Methods: We conducted a meta-analysis of available studies to clarify the associations of the CETP TaqIB polymorphism with HDL-C concentration and the composite ischemic CVD risk in both Asians and Caucasians. All statistical analyses were done with Stata 12.0. Results: Through utilization of the Cochrane Library, Embase, PubMed, Web of Science, Springer, China Science and Technology Journal Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Google Scholar, and Baidu Library, a total of 45 studies from 44 papers with 20,866 cases and 21,298 controls were combined showing a significant association between the CETP TaqIB variant and composite ischemic CVD risk. Carriers of allele TaqIB-B1 were found to have a higher risk of composite ischemic CVD than non-carriers: OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.09–1.21, p < 0.001. Meanwhile, 28 studies with 23,959 subjects were included in the association between the CETP TaqIB polymorphism and the concentration of HDL-C. Results suggested that carriers of the B1B1 genotype had lower concentrations of HDL-C than those of the B2B2 genotype: SMD = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.36–0.65, p < 0.001. Conclusions: The synthesis of available evidence demonstrates that the CETP TaqIB polymorphism protects against composite ischemic CVD risk and is associated with a higher HDL-C concentration in both Asians and Caucasians.
PMCID: PMC5036715  PMID: 27608031
cholesteryl ester transfer protein; polymorphism; composite ischemic cardiovascular disease; HDL-C; meta-analysis
25.  Endotoxin and cytokines decrease serum levels and extra hepatic protein and mRNA levels of cholesteryl ester transfer protein in syrian hamsters. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1996;97(11):2585-2592.
Endotoxin alters the metabolism of lipoproteins, including that of high density lipoprotein (HDL). Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) facilitates exchange of HDL cholesterol for very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglyceride, leading to catabolism of HDL. We investigated the effects of endotoxin and cytokines on CETP in Syrian hamsters. Endotoxin induced a rapid and progressive decrease in serum CETP levels, by 48 h CETP had decreased to < 20% of control levels. Endotoxin also decreased CETP mRNA and protein levels in adipose tissue, heart, and muscle, the tissues with highest levels of CETP mRNA, providing a plausible mechanism for the endotoxin-induced decrease in circulating CETP. Dexamethasone did not mimic the effects of endotoxin on CETP, but the combination of tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1 did, indicating that these cytokines may in part mediate the effects of endotoxin on CETP. The endotoxin-induced decrease in CETP may help maintain HDL cholesterol levels during infection and inflammation when increased triglyceride levels could drive the exchange of HDL cholesteryl ester for VLDL triglyceride. Maintaining circulating HDL may be important because HDL protects against the toxic effects of endotoxin and provides cholesterol for peripheral cells involved in the immune response and tissue repair.
PMCID: PMC507345  PMID: 8647952

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