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Dietary fatty acids and lipoprotein metabolism: new insights and updates

Ooi, Esther M.M.a; Ng, Theodore W.K.a; Watts, Gerald F.a; Barrett, P. Hugh R.a,b

Current Opinion in Lipidology: June 2013 - Volume 24 - Issue 3 - p 192–197
doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e3283613ba2
LIPID METABOLISM: Edited by Ernst J. Schaefer

Purpose of review Dyslipidemia is a powerful risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Dietary fatty acid composition regulates lipids and lipoprotein metabolism and may confer CVD benefit. This review updates understanding of the effect of dietary fatty acids on lipoprotein metabolism in humans.

Recent findings High dietary fish-derived n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) consumption diminished hepatic triglyceride-rich lipoprotein (TRL) secretion and enhanced TRL to LDL conversion. n-3 PUFA also decreased TRL-apoB-48 concentration by decreasing TRL-apoB-48 secretion. High n-6 PUFA intake decreased liver fat, and plasma proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9, triglycerides, total-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol concentrations. Intake of saturated fatty acids with increased palmitic acid at the sn-2 position was associated with decreased postprandial lipemia, which might be due to decreased triglyceride absorption. Replacing carbohydrate with monounsaturated fatty acids increased TRL catabolism. Ruminant trans-fatty acid decreased HDL cholesterol, but the mechanisms are unknown. A new role for APOE genotype in regulating lipid responses was also described.

Summary The major advances in understanding the effect of dietary fatty acids on lipoprotein metabolism have focused on n-3 PUFA. This knowledge provides insights into the importance of regulating lipoprotein metabolism as a mode to improve plasma lipids and potential CVD risk. Further studies are required to better understand the cardiometabolic effects of other dietary fatty acids.

aMetabolic Research Centre, School of Medicine & Pharmacology

bFaculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Correspondence to P. Hugh R. Barrett, School of Medicine & Pharmacology, M002, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia. Tel: +61 8 6488 3459; fax: +61 8 6488 1089; e-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.