The biogenesis of chylomicrons

Annu Rev Physiol. 2010;72:315-33. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-021909-135801.


The absorption of dietary fat is of increasing concern given the rise of obesity not only in the United States but throughout the developed world. This review explores what happens to dietary fat within the enterocyte. Absorbed fatty acids and monoacylglycerols are required to be bound to intracellular proteins and/or to be rapidly converted to triacylglycerols to prevent cellular membrane disruption. The triacylglycerol produced at the level of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is either incorporated into prechylomicrons within the ER lumen or shunted to triacylglycerol storage pools. The prechylomicrons exit the ER in a specialized transport vesicle in the rate-limiting step in the intracellular transit of triacylglycerol across the enterocyte. The prechylomicrons are further processed in the Golgi and are transported to the basolateral membrane via a separate vesicular system for exocytosis into the intestinal lamina propria. Fatty acids and monoacylglycerols entering the enterocyte via the basolateral membrane are also incorporated into triacylglycerol, but the basolaterally entering lipid is much more likely to enter the triacylglycerol storage pool than the lipid entering via the apical membrane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chylomicrons / biosynthesis*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology*
  • Lipids / biosynthesis
  • Transport Vesicles / metabolism


  • Chylomicrons
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids