Atherosclerosis affects millions of people worldwide. However, the wide variety of limitations in the current therapeutic options leaves much to be desired in future lipid-lowering therapies. For example, although statins, which are the first-line treatment for coronary heart disease (CHD), reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in a large percentage of patients, they lead to optimal levels of low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) in only about one-third of patients. A new promising research direction against atherosclerosis aims to improve lipoprotein metabolism. Novel therapeutic approaches are being developed to increase the levels of functional high density lipoprotein (HDL) particles. This review aims to highlight the atheroprotective potential of the in vitro synthesized reconstituted HDL particles containing apolipoprotein E (apoE) as their sole apolipoprotein component (rHDL-apoE). For this purpose, we provide: (1) a summary of the atheroprotective properties of native plasma HDL and its apolipoprotein components, apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) and apoE; (2) an overview of the anti-atherogenic functions of rHDL-apoA-I and apoA-I-containing HDL, i.e., natural HDL isolated from transgenic Apoa1−/−
mice overexpressing human apoA-I (HDL-apoA-I); and (3) the latest developments and therapeutic potential of HDL-apoE and rHDL-apoE. Novel rHDL formulations containing apoE could possibly present enhanced biological functions, leading to improved therapeutic efficacy against atherosclerosis.
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