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Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Feb;85(2):369-76.

Postprandial effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins and vascular reactivity in type 2 diabetes.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences and The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA.



Plasma lipoproteins may be classified by their apolipoprotein composition. The lipoprotein subclass containing apolipoproteins B and C (LpB:C) is considered the most atherogenic.


We evaluated the acute effects of individual fatty acids on apolipoprotein B (apo B)-containing lipoproteins in adults with type 2 diabetes (n = 15).


We administered 3 meals in a randomized, double-blind, crossover design. Treatments contained skim milk and 50 g fat from high-oleic acid safflower and canola oils (monounsaturated fatty acid; MUFA), MUFA + 3.5 g alpha-linolenic acid (ALA; MUFA + ALA) from high-ALA canola oil, or MUFA + 4.0 g both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; MUFA + EPA/DHA) from sardine oil. Apo B, LpB, LpB:C, LpB:E + LpB:C:E, and LpA-II:B:C:D:E were measured at baseline and 2 and 4 h after the meal. Flow-mediated dilation was measured at baseline and 4 h after the meal.


The treatments significantly increased apo B and LpB postprandially (P < 0.03 for both), but the magnitude of the changes did not differ significantly between the treatments. The postprandial change in LpB:C was 23% lower after MUFA + EPA/DHA than after MUFA (treatment x time interaction, P < 0.0001). MUFA + ALA attenuated the increase in LpA-II:B:C:D:E in those with high triacylglycerols (>/=1.69 mmol/L) but was the only treatment to significantly increase this particle in those with low triacylglycerols (treatment x group interaction, P < 0.0001). Examination of change scores did not reveal the source of the interaction of treatment and time (P < 0.007) for LpB:E + LpB:C:E. Furthermore, the subjects with the largest increases in LpB:C exhibited the largest impairment in endothelial function.


The results suggest that unsaturated fatty acids differentially affect concentrations of apo B-containing lipoprotein subclasses. A rise in LpB:C adversely affects endothelial function. Meals containing MUFA + EPA/DHA attenuated the postprandial rise in LpB:C and the impairment of endothelial function.

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