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J Lipid Res. 1990 Oct;31(10):1809-19.

Interaction of dietary saturated and polyunsaturated triglycerides in regulating the processes that determine plasma low density lipoprotein concentrations in the rat.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas.


These studies were undertaken to determine how polyunsaturated (n-3 and n-6) and saturated triglycerides interact to regulate rates of low density lipoprotein (LDL) production and rates of receptor-dependent and receptor-independent LDL transport. Animals were fed diets containing 20% (by wt) hydrogenated coconut oil or diets in which the coconut oil was progressively removed and replaced with safflower oil or fish oil concentrate. Plasma LDL concentrations fell when either of the polyunsaturated triglycerides was substituted for saturated triglycleride in the diet; however, the reduction in LDL concentrations was greater with fish oil than with safflower oil at all ratios of polyunsaturated to saturated triglyceride that were examined. The lower plasma LDL concentrations when coconut oil was replaced with fish oil could be attributed almost entirely to a much greater increase in hepatic LDL receptor activity when fish oil was used as the substitute than when safflower oil was used as the substitute. To examine the effect of polyunsaturated triglycerides when used to supplement a high saturated fat diet rather than to replace saturated fat in the diet, animals were fed a diet containing 15% coconut oil (by wt) with or without an additional supplement of 5% fish oil or safflower oil. The addition of 15% coconut oil to low fat control diet increased the rate of LDL production causing circulating LDL levels to rise by 40%. The further supplementation of this high saturated fat diet with fish oil concentrate markedly increased hepatic LDL receptor activity causing plasma LDL concentrations to return to control values whereas supplementation with safflower oil had little effect. Thus, at least in the rat, supplementation of a high saturated fat diet with a fish oil concentrate lowers plasma LDL concentrations as effectively as removing the saturated fat from the diet, although in the former case, both the production and the receptor-dependent uptake of LDL are greatly increased.

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