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Curr Med Chem. 2005;12(17):1931-45.

Clinical relevance of postprandial lipaemia.

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Cardiology Department, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece.


Several studies showed that after a fatty meal, plasma triglyceride (TG) levels are higher in patients with coronary heart disease. This abnormality may explain why some individuals develop atherosclerotic disease despite normal fasting lipid values. TG-rich lipoproteins are involved in atherosclerosis and thrombosis. TG, remnant-like particle (RLP) cholesterol (RLP-C) and RLP-TG increase after fat load and could contribute to atherothrombosis. Postprandial lipaemia is not a uniform abnormality. Its pathophysiology is not yet entirely clarified; possibly, the response to dietary fat is a polygenic phenomenon. However, a link with insulin resistance is likely; this link as well as that with obesity is discussed. A substantial part of life is spent in the postprandial state. Therefore, several investigators described fat load tests. However, it is still difficult to establish normal postprandial TG ranges since only small numbers of subjects were studied and there is as yet no standardised method. A more simplified fat load test should be established for 'routine' use. In this review, we consider the metabolic features, prevalence and management of postprandial lipaemia. Treatment may involve lifestyle measures as well as the use of lipid lowering (e.g. fibrates or statins), weight reducing and hypoglycaemic drugs.

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