Plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels and selected molecular species of plasma cholesteryl esters and triglycerides were determined in 6-, 12-, 15-, 18-, 21- and 24-month-old Fischer-344 rats. Lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) activity was also determined using two independent methods utilizing endogenous and exogenous substrates. Plasma cholesterol levels increased up to 18 months of age and then plateaued. Of the plasma triglyceride molecular species investigated (C50, C52, C54 and C56), only the levels of C52 increased linearly with age. The concentration of other triglyceride molecular species did not change with age. The fractional rate of plasma cholesterol esterification showed a decreasing trend with age, whereas, the net cholesterol esterification rate showed a gradual age related increase. However, this latter parameter remained unchanged with age when the data were normalized for body weight. The cholesterol esterification rates measured using an exogenous substrate (estimating LCAT enzyme levels) showed essentially no change with age. These data indicate that changes in the levels and/or composition of lipoprotein substrate(s) for LCAT are likely causes of the observed age-related changes in the fractional rate of plasma cholesterol esterification. The net esterification rate of plasma cholesterol was significantly correlated with the plasma triglyceride levels when the animals for all age groups were treated as one experimental group.
- Plasma LCAT