Postprandial remodeling of high-density lipoprotein following high saturated fat and high carbohydrate meals

J Clin Lipidol. Jan-Feb 2020;14(1):66-76.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2019.11.002. Epub 2019 Nov 22.


Background: Humans spend most of the time in the postprandial state, yet most knowledge about high-density lipoproteins (HDL) derives from the fasted state. HDL protein and lipid cargo mediate HDL's antiatherogenic effects, but whether these HDL constituents change in the postprandial state and are affected by dietary macronutrients remains unknown.

Objectives: This study aimed to assess changes in HDL protein and lipid composition after the consumption of a high-carbohydrate or high saturated fat (HSF) meal.

Methods: We isolated HDL from plasma collected during a randomized, cross-over study of metabolically healthy subjects. Subjects consumed isocaloric meals consisting predominantly of either carbohydrate or fat. At baseline and at 3 and 6 hours postprandial, we quantified HDL protein and lipid composition by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Results: A total of 15 subjects were included (60% female, aged 34 ± 15 years, body mass index: 24.1 ± 2.7 kg/m2). Consumption of the HSF meal led to HDL enrichment in total lipid (P = .006), triglyceride (P = .02), and phospholipid (P = .008) content and a corresponding depletion in protein content. After the HSF meal, 16 of the 25 measured phosphatidylcholine species significantly increased in abundance (P values range from .027 to <.001), along with several sphingolipids including ceramides (P < .004), lactosylceramide (P = .023), and sphingomyelin-14 (P = .013). Enrichment in apolipoprotein A-I (P = .001) was the only significant change in HDL protein composition after the HSF meal. The high-carbohydrate meal conferred only minimal changes in HDL composition.

Conclusion: Meal macronutrient content acutely affects HDL composition in the postprandial state, with the HSF meal resulting in enrichment of HDL phospholipid content with possible consequences for HDL function.

Keywords: Diet; High-density lipoprotein; High-density lipoprotein remodeling; High-density lipoprotein/metabolism; Lipidomic analysis; Lipoproteins; Proteomic analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / genetics
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Carbohydrates / adverse effects
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Eating / genetics
  • Eating / physiology
  • Fasting
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipidomics / methods
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Meals
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Postprandial Period / genetics
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Carbohydrates
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Triglycerides