High density lipoprotein (HDL) is recognized as the major negative risk factor of cardiovascular disease and number of anti-atherogenic functions has been ascribed to HDL. HDL is an assembly of a neutral lipid core and an outer shell consisting of polar lipids and proteins. It has been defined many different ways based on various distinct properties including density flotation, protein composition, molecular size, and electrophoretic migration. Overall the studies characterizing HDL clearly demonstrate that it is a complex heterogeneous mixture of particles. Furthermore several studies convincingly demonstrated that certain populations of HDL particles have a distinct functionality suggesting that HDL may serve as a platform for assembly of protein complexes with very specific biological functions. Indeed recent proteomics studies described over 100 proteins associated with HDL. Here we review approaches to isolation and proteomic analysis of HDL and discuss potential problems associated with isolation methods which may confound our understanding of the relation of the HDL composition and its biological function.
Keywords: Lipoproteins, HDL isolation, lipoprotein particle separation, cardiovascular disease, mass spectrometry, Cholesteryl ester transfer protein, coronary artery disease, niacin, kallistatin, coagulation factor