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Metabolism. 1985 Oct;34(10):893-9.

Effects of pregnancy, postpartum lactation, and oral contraceptive use on the lipoprotein cholesterol/triglyceride ratio.


Lipoprotein cholesterol/triglyceride ratio changes have been observed previously with sex hormone use. To determine if the lipoprotein cholesterol/triglyceride ratio is similarly changed by pregnancy and postpartum lactation, we examined pregnant subjects at 36 weeks gestation and the same women at 6 weeks postpartum and compared them to age-matched, nonpregnant women using or not using oral contraceptives. The cholesterol/triglyceride ratios were examined as means and medians and as curvilinear functions of increasing triglyceride concentration. Median ratios did not predict all ratio changes identified graphically. At very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglyceride concentrations below 40 mg/dL, the VLDL ratio is less than control in oral contraceptive users and further reduced in pregnant women. Above triglyceride concentrations of 40-60 mg/dL, the curves in the three groups are indistinguishable. No effect of lactation is observed. The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol/triglyceride ratio is comparably lower in pregnant subjects and oral contraceptive users at all concentrations of lipoprotein triglyceride and again there is no effect of lactation. In high-density lipoprotein (HDL), there is no effect of either pregnancy or oral contraceptive use on the cholesterol/triglyceride ratio, while it is significantly higher with lactation. Postpartum decreases in the VLDL and LDL cholesterol/triglyceride ratio are seen at all lipoprotein concentrations independent of lactation. We conclude that triglyceride enriches VLDL at low concentrations and LDL at all concentrations in pregnancy and with oral contraceptive use, suggesting a common, hormonal mechanism. HDL is enriched with cholesterol during postpartum lactation, consistent with decreased transfer of cholesterol to other lipoproteins.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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