2003 Volume 10 Issue 3 Pages 132-139
Epidemiologic studies have provided support for the association between delayed remnant removal and premature atherosclerosis. Triglyceride-rich particles such as chylomicrons and chylomicron remnants that carry dietary derived fats, may play a role in the early stages of developing arteriosclerosis. Currently research focuses on these lipoprotein classes seeking distinguishing factors that causes some lipoproteins to be atherogenic while others are not. Such lipoproteins could be involved in atherogenesis directly or indirectly. Direct involvement occurs by interaction of triglyceride-rich particles with the arterial wall, possibly affecting the artery wall by oxidative stress, direct endothelial toxicity by constituents such as lysophosphatidylcholine or oxysterols, induction of prothrombotic changes, stimulation of endothelial expression of cell adhesion molecules and direct interaction with circulating blood cells. Indirect involvement refers to the influence of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins on other lipoproteins on the composition of low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) particles. We propose that in individuals with delayed removal of chylomicron remnants, the prolonged exposure of areas of endothelium that have been partially activated by turbulent flow, to specific components of the remnants, results in the endothelial cells becoming further activated and able to bind monocytes. During or shortly after the transcytosis to the intima and transformation of monocytes to macrophages, the macrophages become engorged with remnant derived lipids and form the nidus of a fatty streak.