Fate of intravenously administered squalene and plant sterols in human subjects

J Lipid Res. 2001 Jun;42(6):988-94.


We have studied metabolism of plant sterols and squalene administered intravenously in the form of lipid emulsion mimicking chylomicrons (CM). The CM-like lipid emulsion was prepared by dissolving squalene in commercially available Intralipid. The emulsion was given as an intravenous bolus injection of 30 ml containing 6.3 mg of cholesterol, 1.9 mg of campesterol, 5.7 mg of sitosterol, 1.6 mg of stigmasterol, 18.1 mg of squalene, and 6 g of triglycerides in six healthy volunteers. Blood samples were drawn from the opposite arm before and serially 2.5 -180 min after the injections. The decay of CM squalene, plant sterols, and triglycerides was monoexponential. The half-life of CM squalene was 74 +/- 8 min, that of campesterol was 37 +/- 5 min (P < 0.01 from squalene), and those of sitosterol, stigmasterol, and triglycerides were 17 +/- 2, 15 +/- 1, and 17 +/- 2 min, respectively (P < 0.01 from squalene and campesterol). The CM squalene concentration still exceeded the baseline level 180 min after injection (P = 0.02), whereas plant sterols and triglycerides returned to the baseline level between 45 and 120 min after injection. The half-lives of squalene and campesterol were positively correlated with their fasting CM concentrations. In addition, VLDL squalene, campesterol, and triglyceride concentrations, VLDL, LDL, and HDL sitosterol concentrations, as well as VLDL and LDL stigmasterol concentrations were increased significantly. Cholesterol concentrations increased in VLDL (P < 0.05), but were unchanged in CM after injection. These data suggest that squalene clearance occurs more slowly than that of plant sterols and triglycerides from CM, and that squalene is more tightly associated with triglyceride-rich lipoproteins than are plant sterols in injected CM-like emulsions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cholesterol / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytosterols / pharmacology*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Sitosterols / pharmacokinetics
  • Squalene / pharmacokinetics
  • Squalene / pharmacology*
  • Stigmasterol / pharmacokinetics
  • Time Factors
  • Triglycerides / pharmacokinetics


  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Phytosterols
  • Sitosterols
  • Triglycerides
  • campesterol
  • gamma-sitosterol
  • Squalene
  • Cholesterol
  • Stigmasterol