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Plasma phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP): review of an emerging cardiometabolic risk factor



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Corrigendum Volume 10, Issue 6, 704, Article first published online: 28 October 2009

T Tzotzas, 27, Alexandrou Svolou str, Thessaloniki-54622, Greece. E-mail:; L Lagrost, INSERM Research Center/University of Burgundy – UMR866, Medical School, 7 boulevard Jeanne d'Arc, BP87900, 21079 Dijon cedex, France. E-mail:


Plasma phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) is a lipid transfer glycoprotein that binds to and transfers a number of amphipathic compounds. In earlier studies, the attention of the scientific community focused on the positive role of PLTP in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism. However, this potentially anti-atherogenic role of PLTP has been challenged recently by another picture: PLTP arose as a pro-atherogenic factor through its ability to increase the production of apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins, to decrease their antioxidative protection and to trigger inflammation. In humans, PLTP has mostly been studied in patients with cardiometabolic disorders. Both PLTP and related cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) are secreted proteins, and adipose tissue is an important contributor to the systemic pools of these two proteins. Coincidently, high levels of PLTP and CETP have been found in the plasma of obese patients. PLTP activity and mass have been reported to be abnormally elevated in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and insulin-resistant states, and this elevation is frequently associated with hypertriglyceridemia and obesity. This review article presents the state of knowledge on the implication of PLTP in lipoprotein metabolism, on its atherogenic potential, and the complexity of its implication in obesity, insulin resistance and T2DM.