Apolipoprotein CIII (apoCIII) has been implicated in hypertriglyceridemia and plasma apoCIII independently predicts risk for coronary heart disease. While hypertriglyceridemia in patients has been demonstrated to correlate with elevated plasma apoCIII levels and reduced lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity, apoCIII transgenic mice show elevated LPL activity. In this study, we generated transgenic (Tg) rabbits expressing human apoCIII gene exclusively in liver and investigated the effect of apoCIII overexpression on lipid metabolism of rabbits. In comparison with non-Tg littermates, Tg rabbits had 3- and 3.2-fold increases in fed and fasted plasma triglycerides, respectively. In contrast, no significant differences were observed in plasma total cholesterol and high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels between Tg and non-Tg rabbits. Analysis of lipoprotein fractions revealed that elevated plasma triglyceride levels in Tg rabbits were mainly attributed to an increase in very low density lipoprotein/chylomicron-sized particles. Furthermore, Tg rabbits showed markedly delayed clearance of plasma triglycerides accompanied with significantly reduced LPL activity in post-heparin plasma compared to that in non-Tg controls. In conclusion, these results indicate apoCIII transgenic rabbits develop hypertriglyceridemia with similar mechanism in hypertriglyceridemic patients via delayed clearance of plasma triglycerides, and could be used as a valuable tool for the study of human hyperlipidemia in relation with atherosclerotic disorders.