Lipid-poor high density lipoprotein apolipoproteins remove cholesterol and phospholipids from cells by an active secretory pathway controlled by an ABC transporter called ABCA1. This pathway is induced by cholesterol and cAMP analogs in a cell-specific manner. Here we provide evidence that increased plasma membrane ABCA1 accounts for the enhanced apolipoprotein-mediated lipid secretion from macrophages induced by cAMP analogs. Treatment of RAW264 macrophages with 8-bromo-cAMP caused parallel increases in apoA-I-mediated cholesterol efflux, ABCA1 mRNA and protein levels, incorporation of ABCA1 into the plasma membrane, and binding of apoA-I to cell-surface ABCA1. All of these parameters declined to near base-line values within 6 h after removal of 8-bromo-cAMP, indicating that ABCA1 is highly unstable and is degraded rapidly in the absence of inducer. Thus, ABCA1 is likely to be the cAMP-inducible apolipoprotein receptor that promotes removal of cholesterol and phospholipids from macrophages.