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J Lipid Res. 2003 Mar;44(3):470-8. Epub 2002 Dec 1.

Fatty liver in familial hypobetalipoproteinemia: triglyceride assembly into VLDL particles is affected by the extent of hepatic steatosis.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA.


Familial hypobetalipoproteinemia (FHBL) subjects may develop fatty liver. Liver fat was assessed in 21 FHBL with six different apolipoprotein B (apoB) truncations (apoB-4 to apoB-89) and 14 controls by magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Liver fat percentages were 16.7 +/- 11.5 and 3.3 +/- 2.9 (mean +/- SD) (P = 0.001). Liver fat percentage was positively correlated with body mass index, waist circumference, and areas under the insulin curves of 2 h glucose tolerance tests, suggesting that obesity may affect the severity of liver fat accumulation in both groups. Despite 5-fold differences in liver fat percentage, mean values for obesity and insulin indexes were similar. Thus, for similar degrees of obesity, FHBL subjects have more hepatic fat. VLDL-triglyceride (TG)-fatty acids arise from plasma and nonplasma sources (liver and splanchnic tissues). To assess the relative contributions of each, [2H2]palmitate was infused over 12 h in 13 FHBL subjects and 11 controls. Isotopic enrichment of plasma free palmitate and VLDL-TG-palmitate was determined by mass spectrometry. Non-plasma sources contributed 51 +/- 15% in FHBL and 37 +/- 13% in controls (P = 0.02). Correlations of liver fat percentage and percent VLDL-TG-palmitate from liver were r = 0.89 (P = 0.0001) for FHBL subjects and r = 0.69 (P = 0.01) for controls. Thus, apoB truncation-producing mutations result in fatty liver and in altered assembly of VLDL-TG.

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