COOH-terminal Disruption of Lipoprotein Lipase in Mice Is Lethal in Homozygotes, but Heterozygotes Have Elevated Triglycerides and Impaired Enzyme Activity
The role of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL) in atherosclerosis is uncertain. To generate an animal model of LPL deficiency, we targeted the LPL gene in embryonic stem cells with a vector designed to disrupt the COOH terminus of the protein and used these cells to generate LPL-deficient mice. Germ line transmission of the disrupted LPL allele was achieved with two chimeric males, and offspring from each of these animals were phenotypically identical. Pups homozygous (-/-) for LPL deficiency
... ied within 48 h of birth with extreme elevations of serum triglycerides (13,327 mg/dl) associated with essentially absent LPL enzyme activity in heart and carcass. Newborn heterozygous (+/-) LPL-deficient pups had lower LPL enzyme activity and higher triglycerides (370 versus 121 mg/dl) than wild type (+/+) littermates. Adult heterozygotes had higher triglycerides than wild type mice with ad libitum feeding (236 mg/dl for +/- versus 88 mg/dl for +/+) and after fasting for 4 h (98 mg/dl for +/- versus 51 for +/+) or 12 h (109 mg/dl for +/- versus 56 mg/dl for +/+). Triglycerides were present as very low density lipoprotein particles and chylomicrons, but high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were not decreased in +/- animals. Plasma heparin-releasable LPL activity was 43% lower in +/- versus +/+ adult animals. LPL activity, mRNA, and protein were lower in the tissues of +/- versus +/+ mice. Homozygous LPL deficiency caused by disruption of the COOH terminus of the enzyme is lethal in mice. Heterozygous LPL deficiency caused by this mutation is associated with mild to moderate hypertriglyceridemia without affecting static HDL cholesterol levels. Heterozygous LPL-deficient mice could be useful for determining if hypertriglyceridemia, independently or in combination with other discrete defects, influences atherosclerosis.