Effect of the fat composition of a single meal on the composition and cytotoxic potencies of lipolytically-releasable free fatty acids in postprandial plasma

Byung Hong Chung, Bernhard Hennig, B. H.Simon Cho, Betty E. Darnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Ingestion of a meal increases plasma levels of triglyceride (TG)-rich lipoproteins through the secretion of intestine-derived chylomcirons and liver-derived very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). We have determined the effects of the fat composition of a single meal on the composition of TG in TG-rich lipoproteins (VLDL + chylomicrons) and circulating and lipolytically- releasable free fatty acids (FFA) in postprandial (PP) plasma and on the cytotoxic potencies of the lipolytically-released FFA to cultured arterial wall cells. PP lipemia was induced by feeding fasted normolipidemic human subjects with a meal rich in saturated fat (SF) and another meal rich in polyunsaturated fat (PUF), or vice versa; each meal provided 65% of energy as fat, and polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratios (P/S) of the SF and PUF in the meals were 0.40 and 2.49, respectively. The mean P/S of TG in TG- rich lipoproteins (1.43) and circulating FFA (1.46) in 4 h PP plasma of PUF were significantly higher than those in PP plasma of SF (0.44 and 0.59, respectively) in fasting plasma (0.52 and 0.53, respectively). In vitro lipolysis of fasting and PP serum by purified bovine milk lipoprotein lipase (LpL) resulted in a marked (8.8-12.3-fold) increase in the serum FFA level. The P/S of serum FFA in postlipolysis fasting and PP serum were consistently higher than that of FFA or that of TG associated with TG-rich lipoproteins in prelipolysis fasting and PP serum, indicating that polyunsaturated TG in VLDL and/or chylomicrons is more susceptible than saturated TG to lipolysis. When postlipolysis serum was interacted with cultured endothelial cells and mouse peritoneal macrophages (MPM), the lipolytically-released FFA in PP serum of SF and PUF disrupted the barrier function of endothelial cells and were cytotocxic to cultured MPM; FFA in postlipolysis fasting serum was not cytotoxic. FFA in postlipolysis PP serum of PUF were consistently more potent than that in postlipolysis PP serum of SF. Further study showed that all long-chain monounsaturated FFA and polyunsaturated FFA, but not saturated FFA, incorporated into lipoproteins (LDL) were cytotoxic to cultured MPM. In conclusion, despite the generally well-accepted belief that SF is more atherogenic than PUF, the present study provides in vitro evidence that the lipolytic remnant products of TG-rich lipoproteins produced after a meal rich in PUF are more injurious to arterial wall cells than those produced after a meal rich in SF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-332
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by a grant from the National Livestock and Meat Board and in part by the US Public Health Service Grant (HL 50719) and General Clinical Research Center Grant RR0032.


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Dietary fat
  • Endothelial cells
  • Fatty acids
  • Lipolysis
  • Macrophages
  • Postprandial chylomicrons
  • Triglycerides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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