, Volume 47, Issue 11, pp 1063–1071 | Cite as

Decreased Plasma Cholesterol Concentrations After PUFA-Rich Diets are not Due to Reduced Cholesterol Absorption/Synthesis

  • Vanu R. Ramprasath
  • Peter J. H. JonesEmail author
  • Donna D. Buckley
  • Laura A. Woollett
  • James E. Heubi
Original Article


Plasma cholesterol concentrations increase with consumption of high saturated fatty acid (SFA) and decrease with high polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) diets, leading to shifts in lipid levels consistent with reduction in heart disease risk. Direct measurements of cholesterol absorption, one of the key regulators of plasma cholesterol levels, have not been performed in humans after consumption of high PUFA diets. Thus, cholesterol absorption and fractional synthesis rates (FSRs) were measured in 16 healthy adults (8 males and 9 females) using a randomized cross-over study with a diet containing high (PUFA/SFA) P/S ratio (2:1) and a low P/S ratio (0.5:1). Cholesterol absorption and fractional cholesterol synthetic rates were measured using stable isotopes after 20 days of dietary intervention. Diet did not affect cholesterol absorption or synthesis. There was a significant decrease in plasma cholesterol concentrations (P < 0.02), specifically LDL-cholesterol (P < 0.02), without a change in HDL-cholesterol or triacylglycerol concentrations. Intraluminal cholesterol solubilization and plasma sterol (cholesterol biosynthetic intermediates and plant sterols) levels were not affected by diet. Thus, consumption of diets with a high P/S ratio reduces plasma total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations independent of shifts in cholesterol absorption or synthesis.


Fatty acid Metabolic syndrome Cholesterol Bile Human PUFA SFA 



Polyunsaturated fatty acid(s)


Ratio between polyunsaturated fatty acid and saturated fatty acid


Low density lipoprotein


High density lipoprotein


Saturated fatty acid(s)


Cardiovascular disease


Red blood cell


Cincinnati children’s hospital medical center


General clinical research center


Fractional synthetic rate


Gas liquid chromatography



We thank YenMing Chan, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, and Dr. Scot Harding, adjunct professor, Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba for their help with the analytical part of the study. We also thank Suzanne Summer and the staff of the Body Composition Core of the General Clinical Research Center for their help with dietary management for the study. We were also supported by the National Institute of Health RR 08084 and DK 068463.

Conflict of interest

No authors have any conflict of interest with the current study.


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanu R. Ramprasath
    • 1
  • Peter J. H. Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  • Donna D. Buckley
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Laura A. Woollett
    • 5
  • James E. Heubi
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and NutraceuticalsUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology/Hepatology and NutritionChildren’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsChildren’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  4. 4.Clinical/Translational Research CenterChildren’s Hospital Medical CenterCincinnatiUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUniversity of Cincinnati Medical SchoolCincinnatiUSA

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