Postprandial hypertriglyceridemia as a coronary risk factor.
Postprandial hypertriglyceridemia is now established as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This metabolic abnormality is principally initiated by overproduction and/or decreased catabolism of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TRLs) and is a consequence of predisposing genetic variations and medical conditions such as obesity and insulin resistance. Accumulation of TRLs in the postprandial state promotes the retention of remnant particles in the artery wall. Because of their size, most remnant particles cannot cross the endothelium as efficiently as smaller low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles. However, since each remnant particle contains approximately 40 times more cholesterol compared with LDL, elevated levels of remnants may lead to accelerated atherosclerosis and CVD. The recognition of postprandial hypertriglyceridemia in the clinical setting has been severely hampered by technical difficulties and the lack of established clinical protocols for investigating postprandial lipemia. In addition, there are currently no internationally agreed management guidelines for this type of dyslipidemia. Here we review the mechanism for and consequences of excessive postprandial hypertriglyceridemia, epidemiological evidence in support of high triglycerides and remnant particles as risk factors for CVD, the definition of hypertriglyceridemia, methods to measure postprandial hypertriglyceridemia and apolipoproteins and, finally, current and future treatment opportunities.