Cynomolgus monkeys, Macaca fascicularis, fed cholesterol-containing saturated-fat diets develop increased levels of high molecular weight plasma low density lipoproteins (LDL), associated with accelerated atherosclerosis. To study the composition and structure of these abnormal particles, LDL from monkeys, fed atherogenic and control diets, were characterized chemically and examined by differential scanning calorimetry and low-angle X-ray scattering. LDL from animals on the experimental diet showed an increase in molecular weight (4.0 to 7.0 × 106, experimental diet compared with 3.0 to 3.7 × 106, control diet) associated with a large increase in cholesterol ester content and concomitant smaller increases in protein, phospholipid, and free cholesterol. There was a strong positive correlation between molecular weight and the number of saturated and monounsaturated cholesterol esters in the particle. In contrast, particle content of polyunsaturated cholesterol esters remained constant despite large changes in total particle cholesterol esters.


Alan R. Tall, Donald M. Small, David Atkinson