Products generated from lipoprotein lipase-mediated hydrolysis of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TGRL) are reported to increase endothelial layer permeability. We hypothesize that these increases in permeability result from the active rearrangement and dissolution of the junctional barrier in human aortic endothelial cells, as well as induction of the apoptotic cascade. Human aortic endothelial cells were treated with TGRL lipolysis products generated from coincubation of human TGRL plus lipoprotein lipase. Measurement of transendothelial electrical resistance demonstrated a time-dependent decrease in endothelial barrier function in response to TGRL lipolysis products. Immunofluorescent localization of zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) showed radial rearrangement along cell borders after 1.5 h of treatment with lipolysis products. A concurrent redistribution of F-actin from the cell body to the cell margins was observed via rhodamine phalloidin staining. Immunofluorescent imaging for occludin and vascular endothelial cadherin showed that these proteins relocalize as well, although these changes are less prominent than for ZO-1. Western analysis of cells exposed to lipolysis products for 3 h revealed the fragmentation of ZO-1, a reduction in occludin, and no change of vascular endothelial cadherin. Lipolysis products also increased caspase-3 activity and induced nuclear fragmentation. Treatments did not cause oncosis in cells at any point during the incubation. These results demonstrate that TGRL lipolysis products play an important role in the regulation of endothelial permeability, the organization of the actin cytoskeleton, the localization and expression of junctional proteins, especially ZO-1, and the induction of apoptosis.