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Am J Epidemiol. 1987 Mar;125(3):387-99.

Characteristics of human hypo- and hyperresponders to dietary cholesterol.


The characteristics of people whose serum cholesterol level is unusually susceptible to consumption of cholesterol were investigated. Thirty-two volunteers from the general population of Wageningen, the Netherlands, each participated in three controlled dietary trials in 1982. A low-cholesterol diet was fed during the first half and a high-cholesterol diet during the second half of each trial, and the change (response) of serum cholesterol was measured. The responses in the three trials were averaged to give each subject's mean responsiveness. Fecal excretion of cholesterol and its metabolites were measured in the second trial, and body cholesterol synthesis was calculated. Responsiveness showed a positive correlation with serum high density lipoprotein2 (HDL2) cholesterol (r = 0.41, p less than 0.05) and with serum total cholesterol level on a high-cholesterol diet (r = 0.31, p = 0.09). A negative relation was found with habitual cholesterol consumption (r = -0.62, p less than 0.01), with body mass index (r = -0.50, p less than 0.01), and with the rate of endogenous cholesterol synthesis (r = -0.40, p less than 0.05), but not with the reaction of endogenous cholesterol synthesis rate to an increased intake of cholesterol. No relation was found with age, sex, total caloric needs, or the ratio of primary to secondary fecal steroids. Upon multiple regression analysis, only habitual cholesterol intake and serum total and HDL2 cholesterol levels contributed significantly to the explanation of variance in responsiveness. Thus, a low habitual cholesterol intake, a high serum HDL2 cholesterol level, or a low body weight do not make one less susceptible to dietary cholesterol-induced hypercholesterolemia.

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