Objective - Niacin potently decreases plasma triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol. In addition, niacin is the most potent HDL-cholesterol- increasing drug used in the clinic. In the present study, we aimed at elucidation of the mechanism underlying its HDL-raising effect. Methods and Results - InAPOE*3Leiden transgenic mice expressing the human CETP transgene, niacin dose-dependently decreased plasma triglycerides (up to -77%, P<0.001) and total cholesterol (up to -66%, P<0.001). Concomitantly, niacin dose-dependently increased HDL-cholesterol (up to +87%, P<0.001), plasma apoAI (up to +72%, P<0.001), as well as the HDL particle size. In contrast, in APOE*3Leiden mice, not expressing CETP, niacin also decreased total cholesterol and triglycerides but did not increase HDL-cholesterol. In fact, in APOE*3Leiden.CETP mice, niacin dose-dependently decreased the hepatic expression of CETP (up to -88%; P<0.01) as well as plasma CETP mass (up to -45%, P<0.001) and CETP activity (up to -52%, P<0.001). Additionally, niacin dose-dependently decreased the clearance of apoAI from plasma and reduced the uptake of apoAI by the kidneys (up to -90%, P<0.01). Conclusion - Niacin markedly increases HDL-cholesterol in APOE*3Leiden. CETP mice by reducing CETP activity, as related to lower hepatic CETP expression and a reduced plasma (V)LDL pool, and increases HDL-apoAI by decreasing the clearance of apoAI from plasma. © 2008 American Heart Association, Inc.