We investigated associations between plasma concentrations of cholesterol and lutein after consumption of eggs. Using a crossover design, 22 postmenopausal women (50-77 y) consumed an egg treatment (640 mg/d additional cholesterol and 600 mug/d additional lutein + zeaxanthin) or a baseline treatment (no additional cholesterol or lutein + zeaxanthin) for 30 d, followed by a 3-wk washout period and the alternate diet. The increases in plasma total cholesterol and lutein due to egg consumption were related (r = 0.48, P < 0.05). There was a positive correlation between LDL size (r = 0.45, P < 0.05), HDL size (r = 0.64, P < 0.01), and plasma lutein, but no relation with the number of LDL or HDL particles. The activities of cholesterol ester transfer protein and lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase, although important in the exchange of cholesterol among lipoproteins, were not associated with changes in plasma lutein. Plasma lutein concentrations observed during the baseline period were a strong predictor of the increase in plasma lutein after egg treatment (r = 0.50 P < 0.05). There was a negative association between the change in lutein due to egg consumption and BMI (r = -0.40, P < 0.06) and waist circumference (r = -0.49, P < 0.05). This was particularly evident in individuals with BMI >29. We conclude that the increase in plasma lutein after egg consumption is associated with the change in plasma total cholesterol, but that the effect is diminished by obesity. Lipoprotein size, but not number, also affects plasma response to dietary lutein.