, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 557–567 | Cite as

Egg Consumption Modulates HDL Lipid Composition and Increases the Cholesterol-Accepting Capacity of Serum in Metabolic Syndrome

  • Catherine J. Andersen
  • Christopher N. Blesso
  • Jiyoung Lee
  • Jacqueline Barona
  • Dharika Shah
  • Michael J. Thomas
  • Maria Luz FernandezEmail author
Original Article


We recently demonstrated that daily whole egg consumption during moderate carbohydrate restriction leads to greater increases in plasma HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) and improvements in HDL profiles in metabolic syndrome (MetS) when compared to intake of a yolk-free egg substitute. We further investigated the effects of this intervention on HDL composition and function, hypothesizing that the phospholipid species present in egg yolk modulate HDL lipid composition to increase the cholesterol-accepting capacity of subject serum. Men and women classified with MetS were randomly assigned to consume either three whole eggs (EGG, n = 20) per day or the equivalent amount of egg substitute (SUB, n = 17) throughout a 12-week moderate carbohydrate-restricted (25–30 % of energy) diet. Relative to other HDL lipids, HDL-cholesteryl ester content increased in all subjects, with greater increases in the SUB group. Further, HDL-triacylglycerol content was reduced in EGG group subjects with normal baseline plasma HDL-C, resulting in increases in HDL-CE/TAG ratios in both groups. Phospholipid analysis by mass spectrometry revealed that HDL became enriched in phosphatidylethanolamine in the EGG group, and that EGG group HDL better reflected sphingomyelin species present in the whole egg product at week 12 compared to baseline. Further, macrophage cholesterol efflux to EGG subject serum increased from baseline to week 12, whereas no changes were observed in the SUB group. Together, these findings suggest that daily egg consumption promotes favorable shifts in HDL lipid composition and function beyond increasing plasma HDL-C in MetS.


HDL Phospholipids Cholesterol efflux Metabolic syndrome Eggs Carbohydrate-restricted diet 



ATP-binding cassette transporter A1


ATP-binding cassette transporter G1


Bicinchoninic acid


Coronary artery disease


Cholesteryl ester




Cholesteryl ester transfer protein


Cardiovascular disease




Whole egg group


Free cholesterol


Plasma HDL-cholesterol




Lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase




National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III


Metabolic syndrome










Reverse cholesterol transport


Sodium dodecyl sulfate


Scavenger receptor class B I


Egg yolk-free egg substitute group





This study was supported in part by the Egg Nutrition Center from funds received by MLF, and by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2012-67011-19914 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to CJA. Mass spectrometric analyses were performed in the Mass Spectrometer Facility of CCCWF School of Medicine and supported in part by NCI Center Grant 5P30CA12197. The Finnigan TSQ Quantum XLS GC/MS/MS was purchased with funds from NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant 1S10RR027940MS to MJT.

Conflict of Interest

MLF received funds from the Egg Nutrition Center to perform the study. CJA, CNB, JL, JB, DS, and MJT declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine J. Andersen
    • 1
  • Christopher N. Blesso
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jiyoung Lee
    • 1
  • Jacqueline Barona
    • 1
    • 4
  • Dharika Shah
    • 2
  • Michael J. Thomas
    • 2
  • Maria Luz Fernandez
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  2. 2.Biochemistry, Wake Forest School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  3. 3.Pathology, Wake Forest School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  4. 4.School of MicrobiologyUniversity of AntioquiaMedellinColombia

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