Macrophages are a significant source of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and apolipoprotein E (apo E) in the developing arterial wall lesion, and each of these proteins can importantly modulate lipid and lipoprotein metabolism by arterial wall cells. LPL and apo E share a number of cell surface binding sites, including proteoglycans, and we have previously shown that proteoglycans are important for modulating net secretion of apoprotein E from macrophages. We therefore evaluated a potential role for LPL in modulating net secretion of macrophage-derived apo E. In pulse-chase experiments, addition of LPL during the chase period produced a decrease in secretion of apoprotein E from human monocyte-derived macrophages, from the human monocytic THP1 cell line, and from J774 cells transfected to constitutively express a human apo E cDNA. LPL similarly reduced apo E secretion when it was prebound to the macrophage cell surface at 4 degrees C. A native LPL particle was required to modulate apo E secretion; addition of monomers and aggregates did not produce the same effect. Depletion of cell surface proteoglycans by a 72-h incubation in 4-methylumbelliferyl-beta-D-xyloside did not attenuate the ability of LPL to reduce apo E secretion. However, addition of receptor-associated protein attenuated the effect of LPL on apo E secretion. Although LPL could mediate removal of exogenously added apo E from the culture medium, detailed pulse-chase analysis suggested that it primarily prevented release of newly synthesized apo E from the cell layer. Cholesterol loading of cells or antibodies to the low density lipoprotein receptor attenuated LPL effects on apo E secretion. We postulate that LPL sequesters endogenously synthesized apo E at the cell surface by a low density lipoprotein receptor-dependent mechanism. Such post-translational regulation of macrophage apo E secretion by LPL could significantly influence apo E accumulation in arterial vessel wall lesions.