Lipoprotein kinetics in the metabolic syndrome: pathophysiological and therapeutic lessons from stable isotope studies

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    Dyslipoproteinaemia is a cardinal feature of the metabolic syndrome that accelerates atherosclerosis. It is usually characterised by high plasma concentrations of triglyceride-rich and apolipoprotein (apo) B-containing lipoproteins, with depressed concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Dysregulation of lipoprotein metabolism in these subjects may be due to a combination of overproduction of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) apoB-100, decreased catabolism of apoB-containing particles, and increased catabolism of HDL apoA-I particles. These abnormalities may be consequent on a global metabolic effect of insulin resistance that increases the flux of fatty acids from adipose tissue to the liver, the accumulation of fat in the liver, the increased hepatic secretion of VLDL-triglycerides and the remodelling of both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and HDL particles in the circulation; perturbations in lipolytic enzymes and lipid transfer proteins contribute to the dyslipidaemia. Our in vivo understanding of the kinetic defects in lipoprotein metabolism in the metabolic syndrome has been chiefly achieved by ongoing developments in the use of stable isotope tracers and mathematical modelling. Knowledge of the pathophysiology of lipoprotein metabolism in the metabolic syndrome is well complemented by extensive cell biological data. Nutritional modifications and increased physical exercise may favourably alter lipoprotein transport in the metabolic syndrome by collectively decreasing the hepatic secretion of VLDL-apoB and the catabolism of HDL apoA-I, as well as by increasing the clearance of LDL-apoB. Pharmacological treatments, such as statins, fibrates or fish oils, can also correct the dyslipidaemia by several mechanisms of action including decreased secretion and increased catabolism of apoB, as well as increased secretion and decreased catabolism of apoA-I. The complementary mechanisms of action of lifestyle and drug therapies support the use of combination regimens to treat dyslipidaemia in the metabolic syndrome.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-48
    Number of pages18
    JournalClinical Biochemist Reviews
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


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