Postprandial lipemia and cardiovascular disease

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2003 Nov;5(6):437-44. doi: 10.1007/s11883-003-0033-y.


Postprandial lipemia, characterized by a rise in triglyceride-rich lipoproteins after eating, is a dynamic, nonsteady-state condition in which humans spend the majority of time. There are several lines of evidence suggesting that postprandial lipemia increases risk of atherogenesis. Clinical data show a correlation between postprandial lipoproteins and the presence/progression of coronary artery disease and carotid intimal thickness. Mechanistic studies demonstrate that triglyceride-rich lipoprotein remnants may have adverse effects on endothelium and can penetrate into the subendothelial space. Exchange of core lipids between postprandial lipoproteins and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is increased during prolonged lipemia, resulting in small, dense LDL particles and reduced HDL cholesterol levels. Hemostatic variables, including clotting factors, platelet reactivity, and monocyte cytokine expression, may be increased during postprandial lipemia. Collectively, these data suggest that assessment and treatment of atherosclerosis should include parameters related to postprandial lipemia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arteriosclerosis / blood
  • Arteriosclerosis / complications*
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipoproteinemias / blood
  • Hyperlipoproteinemias / complications*
  • Hyperlipoproteinemias / pathology
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Postprandial Period
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Tunica Intima / pathology


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides