Women produce fewer but triglyceride-richer very low-density lipoproteins than men

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Apr;92(4):1311-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2006-2215. Epub 2007 Jan 30.


Context: Very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) are a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The concentrations of VLDL particles and VLDL-triglyceride (TG) in plasma are lower in women than men, but the mechanisms responsible for these differences are unclear.

Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate the effects of sex on VLDL-TG and VLDL-apolipoprotein B-100 (apoB-100) metabolism. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We measured basal VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 kinetics by using stable isotope labeled tracers.

Setting/participants: Twenty-six healthy, lean subjects (13 men, aged 29+/-5 yr; 13 women, aged 28+/-6 yr) were studied in the General Clinical Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine.

Results: VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 concentrations were less in women than men (P<0.05). The secretion rate of VLDL-TG was approximately 70% greater (P<0.05), whereas the secretion rate of VLDL-apoB-100 (i.e. VLDL particles) was approximately 20% less (P<0.05) in women than men. The molar ratio of VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 secretion rates was therefore more than double (P<0.05) in women than men. VLDL-TG plasma clearance rate was approximately 70% greater in women than men (P<0.05), whereas VLDL-apoB-100 plasma clearance rate was not different between sexes. However, VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 mean residence times in plasma were both shorter (by 45 and 25%, respectively; P<0.05) in women than men.

Conclusions: Increased VLDL-TG plasma clearance is responsible for lower VLDL-TG concentration, whereas decreased VLDL-apoB-100 secretion rate, combined with shorter VLDL-apoB-100 residence time in plasma, is responsible for lower VLDL-apoB-100 concentration in women than men. The greater molar ratio of VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 secretion rates suggests that the liver in women secretes fewer but TG-richer VLDL particles than the liver in men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adult
  • Apolipoprotein B-100 / blood
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Apolipoprotein B-100
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Hormones
  • Insulin
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Triglycerides
  • low density lipoprotein triglyceride