Plasma sterol evidence for decreased absorption and increased synthesis of cholesterol in insulin resistance and obesity

Pathmaja Paramsothy, Robert H. Knopp, Steven E. Kahn, Barbara M. Retzlaff, Brian Fish, Lina Ma, Richard E. Ostlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The rise in LDL with egg feeding in lean insulinsensitive (LIS) participants is 2- and 3-fold greater than in lean insulin-resistant (LIR) and obese insulin-resistant (OIR) participants, respectively. Objective: We determined whether differences in cholesterol absorption, synthesis, or both could be responsible for these differences by measuring plasma sterols as indexes of cholesterol absorption and endogenous synthesis. Design: Plasma sterols were measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in a random subset of 34 LIS, 37 LIR, and 37 OIR participants defined by the insulin sensitivity index (SI) and by BMI criteria selected from a parent group of 197 participants. Cholestanol and plant sterols provide a measure of cholesterol absorption, and lathosterol provides a measure of cholesterol synthesis. Results: The mean (±SD) ratio of plasma total absorption biomarker sterols to cholesterol was 4.48 ± 1.74 in LIS, 3.25 ± 1.06 in LIR, and 2.82 ± 1.08 in OIR participants. After adjustment for age and sex, the relations of the absorption sterol-cholesterol ratios were as follows: LIS > OIR (P < 0.001), LIS > LIR (P < 0.001), and LIR > OIR (P = 0.11). Lathosterol-cholesterol ratios were 0.71 ± 0.32 in the LIS participants, 0.95 ± 0.47 in the LIR participants, and 1.29 ± 0.55 in the OIR participants. After adjustment for age and sex, the relations of lathosterol-cholesterol ratios were as follows: LIS < OIR (P < 0.001), LIS < LIR (P = 0.03), and LIR < OIR (P = 0.002). Total sterol concentrations were positively associated with S I and negatively associated with obesity, whereas lathosterol correlations were the opposite. Conclusions: Cholesterol absorption was highest in the LIS participants, whereas cholesterol synthesis was highest in the LIR and OIR participants. Therapeutic diets for hyperlipidemia should emphasize low-cholesterol diets in LIS persons and weight loss to improve S I and to decrease cholesterol overproduction in LIR and OIR persons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1182-1188
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume94
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

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