Chylomicron particle size and number, factor VII activation and dietary monounsaturated fatty acids

Atherosclerosis. 2003 Jan;166(1):73-84. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9150(02)00306-4.


This study evaluated the effects of substituting dietary saturated fatty acids (SFAs) with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) on postprandial chylomicron (triacylglycerol (TAG), apolipoprotein B-48 (apo B-48) and retinyl ester (RE)), chylomicron particle size and factor VII (FVII) response when subjects were given a standard meal. In a controlled sequential design, 51 healthy young subjects followed an SFA-rich diet (Reference diet) for 8 weeks after which half of the subjects followed a moderate MUFA diet (n=25) and half followed a high MUFA diet (n=26) for 16 weeks. Fasting lipoprotein and lipid measurements were evaluated at baseline and at 8-week intervals during the Reference and MUFA diets. In 25 of the subjects (n=12 moderate MUFA, n=13 high MUFA), postprandial responses to a standard test meal containing RE and 13C-tripalmitin were investigated at the end of the Reference and the MUFA diet periods. Although there were no differences in the postprandial lipid markers (TAG, RE, 13C-TAG) on the two diets, the postprandial apo B-48 response (incremental area under the curve (IAUC)) was reduced by 21% on the moderate MUFA diet (NS) and by 54% on the high MUFA diet (P<0.01). The postprandial peak concentrations of apo B-48 were reduced by 33% on the moderate MUFA diet (P<0.01) and 48% on the high MUFA diet (P<0.001). Fasting values for factor VII activity (FVIIc), activated factor VII (FVIIa) or factor VII antigen (FVIIag) did not differ significantly when subjects were transferred from Reference to MUFA diets. However, the postprandial increases in coagulation FVII activity (FVIIc) were 18% lower and of activated FVII (FVIIa) were 17% lower on the moderate MUFA diet (NS). Postprandial increases in FVIIc and FVIIa were 50% (P<0.05) and 29% (P<0.07) lower on the high MUFA diet and the area under the postprandial FVIIc response curve (AUC) was also lower on the high MUFA diet (P<0.05). Significantly higher ratios of RE:apo B-48 (P<0.001) and 13C-palmitic acid:apo B-48 (P<0.01) during both MUFA diets suggest that the CMs formed carry larger amounts of dietary lipids per particle, reflecting an adaptation to form larger lipid droplets in the enterocyte when increased amounts of dietary MUFAs are fed. Smaller numbers of larger chylomicrons may explain attenuated activation of factor VII during the postprandial state when the background diet is rich in MUFA.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apolipoprotein B-48
  • Apolipoproteins B / analysis
  • Apolipoproteins B / metabolism
  • Chylomicrons / chemistry*
  • Chylomicrons / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Factor VII / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Palmitic Acid / metabolism*
  • Particle Size
  • Postprandial Period
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Apolipoprotein B-48
  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Chylomicrons
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids
  • Triglycerides
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Factor VII