Small unilamellar liposomes composed to dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE) and oleic acid (OA) are stabilized by incubation with normal human serum or plasma [Liu, D., & Huang, L. (1989) Biochemistry 28, 7700–7707]. The present report describes a systematic study of interactions of purified serum proteins and lipoproteins with these liposomes. Albumin destabilized liposomes by extracting OA from the liposomes, whereas immunoglobulins and lipoproteins (HDL, LDL, and VLDL) had no effect. However, HDL and, to some extent, VLDL showed a rapid stabilization activity against the lytic effect of albumin. HDL added together with or shortly after the addition of albumin completely abolished the liposome leakage and aggregation effects induced by albumin. SDS-PAGE analysis of the HDL-stabilized liposomes revealed that apolipoprotein A l was associated with liposomes. Purified apolipoprotein A l, but not a lipid mixture resembling the lipid composition of HDL, showed comparable liposome stabilization activity as HDL. Furthermore, synthetic peptides resembling the amphipathic helices found in apolipoprotein A 1 also showed strong liposome stabilization activity. Peptides which were able to form amphipathic helixes of a wedge shape were more effective stabilizers than those which could not. These data indicate that HDL plays a major role in human serum or plasma for the liposome stabilization activity. HDL exerts its activity probably by the interactions of the amphipathic helices of apolipoprotein A l with the hydrophobic voids found on the outer surface of the highly curved, small liposomes. © 1990, American Chemical Society. All rights reserved.