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Eur J Clin Invest. 2009 Sep;39(9):741-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2009.02179.x. Epub 2009 Jun 26.

Methods to assess impaired post-prandial metabolism and the impact for early detection of cardiovascular disease risk.

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Alberta Institute for Human Nutrition, University of Alberta, AB, Canada.


Post-prandial lipaemia has emerged as a key contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and progression. Specifically, delayed clearance of chylomicrons (CM) and their remnants increase the delivery of triglyceride and cholesteryl ester to the vessel wall and can accelerate the progression of atherosclerosis, which may be particularly pertinent to individuals with insulin resistance and/or obesity. As the number of studies linking post-prandial metabolism and chronic disease increases, interest has grown in the use of parameters reflecting CM metabolism as a possible indicator of early CVD risk. This, in turn has raised the question of what method might be most appropriate to detect CM and their remnants in plasma accurately. However, the handful of techniques able to measure CM metabolism (triglyceride-rich lipoprotein fractions; remnant-lipoprotein cholesterol; retinyl esters, CM-like emulsion; sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; immunoblotting, enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assays; C(13) breath test; capillary finger prick) differ in their specificity, cost and applicability in research and in the clinical setting. In this review, we explore the scientific and clinical implications of CM methodology to better understand early risk assessment of CVD. We raise ongoing issues of the need to appreciate differential separation of very low-density lipoprotein and CM fractions, as well as to identify the technical basis for imprecision between assays for apolipoprotein B48. We also highlight emerging issues with respect to the practicality of measuring post-prandial metabolism in large clinical studies and offer opinions on the appropriateness of existing techniques in this field.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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