Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Academic Editor: David Hui
During the postprandial state, dietary lipid is transported from the intestine to peripheral tissues by plasma lipoproteins called chylomicrons. In the capillary beds of peripheral tissues, chylomicron triglycerides are lipolyzed by the enzyme, lipoprotein lipase, allowing the delivery of free fatty acids to the cells. As a result, this produces a new particle of smaller size and enriched with cholesteryl ester referred to as chylomicron remnants. These particles are rapidly removed from the blood primarily by the liver. The liver has a complex chylomicron remnant removal system which is comprised of a combination of different mechanisms that include the low-density-lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and the LDLR-related-protein (LRP). Furthermore, it has been suggested that there is a sequestration component whereby chylomicron remnants bind to heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) and/or hepatic lipase; this is then followed by transport to one or both of the above receptors for hepatic uptake. Over the years, a major concern has arisen about the association of chylomicron remnants and coronary heart disease (CHD) in man. Slow removal of chylomicron remnants, as reflected by a prolonged postprandial state, is now commonly observed in patients with CHD and those that have abnormal lipid disorders such as hypertriglyceridemia, familial hypercholesterolemia, familial combined hyperlipidemia and non-insulin-dependent-diabetes-mellitus. The present review will focus on (a) the details of the metabolic pathway (exogenous pathway) that describes the two-step processing of postprandial lipoproteins, (b) the role of the liver, the receptors, and the importance of efficient removal of chylomicron remnants from the blood circulation, and (c) the potential atherogenic effects of chylomicron remnants on the arterial wall.