Apolipoprotein M promotes cholesterol uptake and efflux from mouse macrophages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Apolipoprotein M (ApoM) exhibits various anti-atherosclerotic functions as a component of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles. Scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) is a classic HDL receptor that mediates selective cholesterol uptake and enhances the efflux of cellular cholesterol to HDL. However, the effect of ApoM on cholesterol transport in macrophages remains unclear. In this study, we identified for the first time that ApoM is expressed in mouse macrophages and is involved in cholesterol uptake, similar to SR-BI. NBD-cholesterol uptake and efflux in cells were characterized using fluorescence spectrophotometry. The uptake ratios of cholesterol by macrophages from ApoM−/−SR-BI−/− mice were significantly lower than those from ApoM+/+SR-BI−/− and ApoM−/−SR-BI+/+ mice. Real-time fluorescence quantitative PCR was used to analyze the expression of cholesterol transport-related genes involved in cholesterol uptake. ApoM-enriched HDL (ApoM+HDL) facilitated more cholesterol efflux from murine macrophage Ana-1 cells than ApoM-free HDL (ApoMHDL). However, recombinant human ApoM protein inhibited the ability of ApoMHDL to induce cholesterol efflux. In conclusion, ApoM promotes cholesterol uptake and efflux in mouse macrophages. A better understanding of ApoM function may lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for treating atherosclerotic diseases.


  • Shuang Yao
  • Fan Zheng
  • Yang Yu
  • Yuxia Zhan
  • Ning Xu
  • Guanghua Luo
  • Lu Zheng
External organisations
  • Third Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University
  • Affiliated Hospital of Hubei University of Arts and Science
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medicinal Chemistry


  • apolipoprotein M, atherosclerosis, cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, Scavenger receptor class B type I
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1607-1620
Number of pages14
JournalFEBS Open Bio
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun
Publication categoryResearch