Plasma high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are a heterogeneous group of particles that vary in size as well as lipid and apoprotein composition. The effect of HDL core lipid composition and particle size on apolipoprotein (apo) A-I structure was studied using surface plasmon resonance (SPR) analysis of the binding of epitope-defined monoclonal antibodies. The association and dissociation rate constants of 12 unique apo A-I-specific monoclonal antibodies for isolated plasma HDL were calculated. In addition, the association rate constants of the antibodies were determined for homogeneous preparations of spherical reconstituted HDL (rHDL) that contained apo A-I as the sole apolipoprotein and differed either in their size or in their core lipid composition. This analysis showed that lipoprotein size affected the conformation of domains dispersed throughout the apo A-I molecule, but the conformation of the central domain between residues 121 and 165 was most consistently modified. In contrast, replacement of core cholesteryl esters with triglyceride in small HDL modified almost the entire molecule, with only two key N-terminal domains of apo A-I being unaffected. This finding suggested that the central and C-terminal domains of apo A-I are in direct contact with rHDL core lipids. This immunochemical analysis has provided valuable insight into how core lipid composition and particle size affect the structure of specific domains of apo A-I on HDL.