Fish oil decreases hepatic cholesteryl ester secretion but not apoB secretion in African green monkeys

J Lipid Res. 1989 Oct;30(10):1535-44.


Two groups of African green monkeys were fed diets containing 40% of calories as fat with half of the fat calories as either fish oil or lard. The fish oil-fed animals had lower cholesterol concentrations in blood plasma (33%) and low density lipoproteins (LDL) (34%) than did animals fed lard. Size and cholesteryl ester (CE) content of LDL, strong predictors of coronary artery atherosclerosis in monkeys, were significantly less for the fish oil-fed animals although the apoB and LDL particle concentrations in plasma were similar for both diet groups. We hypothesized that decreased hepatic CE secretion led to the smaller size and reduced CE content of LDL in the fish oil-fed animals. Hepatic CE secretion was studied using recirculating perfusion of monkey livers that were infused during perfusion with fatty acids (85% 18:1 and 15% n-3) at a rate of 0.1 mumol/min per g liver. The rate of cholesterol secretion was less (P = 0.055) for the livers of fish oil versus lard-fed animals (3.3 +/- 0.5 vs. 6.0 +/- 1.2 mg/h per 100 g, mean +/- SEM) but the rate of apoB secretion was similar for both groups (0.92 +/- 0.15 vs. 1.01 +/- 0.13 mg/h per 100 g, respectively). The hepatic triglyceride secretion rate was also less (P less than 0.05) for the fish oil-fed animals (8.3 +/- 2.5 vs. 18.3 +/- 4.4 mg/h per 100 g). Liver CE content was lower (P less than 0.006) in fish oil-fed animals (4.1 +/- 0.8 vs. 7.4 +/- 0.7 mg/g) and this was reflected in a lower (P less than 0.04) esterified to total cholesterol ratio of perfusate VLDL (0.21 +/- 0.045 vs. 0.41 +/- 0.06). The hepatic VLDL of animals fed fish oil had 40-50% lower ratios of triglyceride to protein and total cholesterol to protein. From these data we conclude that livers from monkeys fed fish oil secreted similar numbers of VLDL particles as those of lard-fed animals although the hepatic VLDL of fish oil-fed animals were smaller in size and relatively enriched in surface material and depleted of core constituents. Positive correlations between plasma LDL size and both hepatic CE content (r = 0.87) and hepatic VLDL cholesterol secretion rate (r = 0.84) were also found.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins B / metabolism*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cholesterol Esters / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / blood
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Perfusion
  • Time Factors


  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Cholesterol Esters
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fish Oils
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • lard