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Atherosclerosis. 1999 Apr;143(2):285-97.

Correlation of serum triglyceride and its reduction by omega-3 fatty acids with lipid transfer activity and the neutral lipid compositions of high-density and low-density lipoproteins.

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Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Serum triglyceride (TG) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations are inversely correlated and mechanistically linked by means of lipid transfer activities. Phospholipid transfer activity (PLTA) moves phospholipids among serum lipoproteins; cholesteryl ester transfer activity (CETA), which exchanges cholesteryl esters (CE) and TG among lipoproteins, is stimulated by nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA). The aims of this study were (a) to develop a quantitative model that correlates the neutral lipid (NL = CE + TG) compositions of HDL and LDL with serum TG concentration; (b) identify the serum lipid determinants of CETA and PLTA, and; (c) identify the effects of serum TG reductions on the neutral lipid compositions of HDL and LDL, serum NEFA concentrations, and on PLTA and CETA. These aims were addressed in 40 hypertriglyceridemic subjects before and after treatment with an 85% concentrate of omega-3 fatty acids (Omacor) and in 16 untreated normolipidemic subjects. In vivo, the NL compositions of LDL and HDL were described by a mathematical model having the form of adsorption isotherms: HDL - (TG/NL) = (0.90 +/- 0.07) serum TG/(7.0 +/- 1.2 mmol/l + serum TG) and LDL - (TG/NL) = (0.65 +/- 0.08) serum TG/(4.9 +/- 1.5 mmol/l + serum TG). Reduction of serum TG was associated with reductions in HDL - (TG/NL), serum NEFA concentration, and serum CETA but not PLTA. These data suggest that both hypertriglyceridemia and the attendant elevated serum CETA but not PLTA are determinants of HDL and LDL composition and structure and that serum TG concentrations are good predictors of the NL compositions of HDL and LDL.

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