Postprandial enrichment of triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins with omega-3 fatty acids: lack of an interaction with apolipoprotein E genotype?

Lipids Health Dis. 2014 Sep 16;13:148. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-13-148.


Background: We have previously demonstrated that carrying the apolipoprotein (apo) E epsilon 4 (E4+) genotype disrupts omega-3 fatty acids (n - 3 PUFA) metabolism. Here we hypothesise that the postprandial clearance of n - 3 PUFA from the circulation is faster in E4+ compared to non-carriers (E4-). The objective of the study was to investigate the fasted and postprandial fatty acid (FA) profile of triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein (TRL) fractions: Sf >400 (predominately chylomicron CM), Sf 60 - 400 (VLDL1), and Sf 20 - 60 (VLDL2) according to APOE genotype.

Methods: Postprandial TRL fractions were obtained in 11 E4+ (ϵ3/ϵ4) and 12 E4- (ϵ3/ϵ3) male from the SATgenϵ study following high saturated fat diet + 3.45 g/d of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for 8-wk. Blood samples were taken at fasting and 5-h after consuming a test-meal representative of the dietary intervention. FA were characterized by gas chromatography.

Results: At fasting, there was a 2-fold higher ratio of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to arachidonic acid (P = 0.046) as well as a trend towards higher relative% of EPA (P = 0.063) in the Sf >400 fraction of E4+. Total n - 3 PUFA in the Sf 60 - 400 and Sf 20 - 60 fractions were not APOE genotype dependant. At 5 h, there was a trend towards a time × genotype interaction (P = 0.081) for EPA in the Sf >400 fraction. When sub-groups were form based on the level of EPA at baseline within the Sf >400 fraction, postprandial EPA (%) was significantly reduced only in the high-EPA group. EPA at baseline significantly predicted the postprandial response in EPA only in E4+ subjects (R2 = 0.816).

Conclusion: Despite the DHA supplement contain very low levels of EPA, E4+ subjects with high EPA at fasting potentially have disrupted postprandial n - 3 PUFA metabolism after receiving a high-dose of DHA.

Trial registration: Registered at

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Diet
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacokinetics
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / blood
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postprandial Period
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid

Associated data