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Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Mar;75(3):484-91.

Fatty acid saturation of the diet and plasma lipid concentrations, lipoprotein particle concentrations, and cholesterol efflux capacity.

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  • 1Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Servicio de Bioquímica Clínica, Madrid, Spain.



The fatty acid content and saturation degree of the diet can modulate HDL composition and cholesterol efflux.


We studied the modifications in plasma lipoprotein particles and serum capacity to stimulate cholesterol efflux induced by different fatty acids.


Seventeen women and 24 men followed in the same sequence 4 diets containing 35% of total energy as fat. The saturated fat diet contained 17% palm oil; the monounsaturated fat diet, 20.9% olive oil; the n-6 polyunsaturated fat diet, 12.5% sunflower oil; and the n-3 polyunsaturated fat diet, sunflower oil supplemented with 4-4.5 g fish oil/d. Each phase lasted 4-5 wk.


In both sexes, apolipoprotein (apo) A-I concentrations were significantly lower with unsaturated fat diets than with the saturated fat diet, but concentrations of lipoproteins containing only apo A-I (Lp A-I) were lower only in the men. Concentrations of lipoproteins containing both apo A-I and apo A-II (Lp A-I:A-II) were lower with both polyunsaturated fat diets in the women but significantly higher in the men. Lp E concentrations were significantly higher with the 2 polyunsaturated fat diets. Lp E non-B particle concentrations were not modified in the men but were significantly higher in the women in both polyunsaturated fat phases. Lp C-III concentrations were higher with the saturated fat diet only in the men. The serum samples taken after the n-3 polyunsaturated fat phase were the most efficient for extracting cellular cholesterol in both sexes.


The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat diets were healthier, producing a better lipid profile. The n-3 polyunsaturated fat diet increased the capacity of serum to promote the efflux of cholesterol from cells in culture.

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