The genetics of serum lipid responsiveness to dietary interventions

Proc Nutr Soc. 1999 Feb;58(1):171-87. doi: 10.1079/pns19990023.


CHD is a multifactorial disease that is associated with non-modifiable risk factors, such as age, gender and genetic background, and with modifiable risk factors, including elevated total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. Lifestyle modification should be the primary treatment for lowering cholesterol values. The modifications recommended include dietary changes, regular aerobic exercise, and normalization of body weight. The recommended dietary changes include restriction in the amount of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol together with an increase in the consumption of complex carbohydrate and dietary fibre, especially water-soluble fibre. However, nutrition scientists continue to question the value of these universal concepts and the public health benefits of low-fat diets, and an intense debate has been conducted in the literature on whether to focus on reduction of total fat or to aim efforts primarily towards reducing the consumption of saturated and trans fats. Moreover, it is well known that there is a striking variability between subjects in the response of serum cholesterol to diet. Multiple studies have examined the gene-diet interactions in the response of plasma lipid concentrations to changes in dietary fat and/or cholesterol. These studies have focused on candidate genes known to play key roles in lipoprotein metabolism. Among the gene loci examined, APOE has been the most studied, and the current evidence suggests that this locus might be responsible for some of the inter-individual variability in dietary response. Other loci, including APOA4, APOA1, APOB, APOC3, LPL and CETP have also been found to account for some of the variability in the fasting and fed states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apolipoprotein C-III
  • Apolipoproteins A / genetics
  • Apolipoproteins B / genetics
  • Apolipoproteins C / genetics
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins
  • Diet*
  • Glycoproteins*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*


  • Apolipoprotein C-III
  • Apolipoproteins A
  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Apolipoproteins C
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • CETP protein, human
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Lipids