The atherogenicity of intestinally derived postprandial lipoproteins has been confirmed in a number of recent studies. We have shown abnormalities in postprandial lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic patients, a group with an increased susceptibility to atherosclerosis. This study examined the relationship between dietary cholesterol and the postprandial, intestinally derived, apolipoprotein B48 and apolipoprotein B100 from the liver. We compared 10 non-insulin-dependent (Type 2, NIDDM) diabetic patients and 10 age-matched non-diabetic control subjects. Fasting blood was taken and subjects were fed a cholesterol-free, high fat meal. Blood samples were repeated at 2 h, 4 h, 6 h, and 8 h postprandial. The following week fasting blood was collected and subjects were given the same meal with 1 g of added cholesterol. Blood was collected at the same time points. Chylomicrons and very low density lipoprotein were isolated by sequential ultracentrifugation and their lipoprotein composition determined. Apolipoproteins B48 and B100 were separated by gradient gel electrophoresis and quantified by densitometric scanning using a low density lipoprotein apolipoprotein B100 standard. Post prandial chylomicron cholesterol and triglyceride increased after the high cholesterol meal in both groups (p < 0.001). The postprandial chylomicron apolipoprotein B48 response of both diabetic and control subjects to the cholesterol meal was less than to the cholesterol-free meal (p < 0.001). Fasting very low density lipoprotein apolipoprotein B48 was higher in diabetic patients compared to control subjects and their postprandial increase following the cholesterol-free meal was significantly greater (p < 0.001). There was a 10-fold increase in the incremental postprandial VLDL apolipoprotein B48 area under the curve after the cholesterol-rich meal in the diabetic patients compared to a 3-fold increase in control subjects. The postprandial very low density lipoprotein apolipoprotein B100 was similar in the two groups with both meals. The study demonstrates a very significant increase in the amount of intestinally derived small apolipoprotein B48-associated particles in the very low density lipoprotein fraction following a cholesterol-rich meal in diabetic patients. Synthesis rather than clearance may be the major cause of the increase in these atherogenic postprandial particles.
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