The effect of moderate alcohol intake on serum apolipoprotein A-I-containing lipoproteins and lipoprotein (a)

Metabolism. 1991 Nov;40(11):1168-72. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(91)90211-e.


Two main types of lipoprotein particles are identified within high-density lipoprotein (HDL): those containing both apolipoprotein (apo) A-I and apo A-II (Lp A-I:A-II) and those containing only apo A-I (Lp A-I). To study the effects of prolonged moderate alcohol intake on apo A-I-containing lipoproteins in serum, 60 g/d of ethanol was administered to 10 healthy male volunteers (age, 27 to 45 years) during 3 weeks. The drinking period was preceded and followed by an abstinence period of 3 weeks. The HDL3 cholesterol level increased by 17% (P less than .01) and decreased by 22% (P less than .001) on and off alcohol, respectively. The HDL2 cholesterol increased by 17% (P = NS) during ethanol intake and decreased by 14% during the following abstention (P less than .01). The serum concentration of apo A-I increased by 17% (P less than .001) during drinking and came back to the starting level after 2 weeks of abstention. Ethanol intake caused an increase in the serum levels of both Lp A-I and Lp A-I:A-II, the former explaining one third of the total increase of apo A-I. The Lp (a) concentration decreased by 33% (P less than .05) during the first week of ethanol intake, but increased back to the starting level until the end of drinking. These data suggest that the increment of the antiatherogenic Lp A-I may be one beneficial effect provided by ethanol with respect to coronary heart disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / analysis*
  • Apolipoproteins / analysis
  • Cholesterol, HDL / analysis
  • Humans
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osmolar Concentration


  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Apolipoproteins
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Lipoproteins