Open Access Research

Effect of an isoenergetic traditional Mediterranean diet on apolipoprotein A-I kinetic in men with metabolic syndrome

Caroline Richard1, Patrick Couture12, Sophie Desroches1, Alice H Lichtenstein3 and Benoît Lamarche1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Laval University, 2440, boul. Hochelaga, Québec (Qc), G1V 0A6, Canada

2 Lipid Research Center, CHUQ Research Center, Quebec, Canada

3 Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA

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Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:76  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-76

Published: 7 June 2013



The impact of the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) kinetics has not been studied to date. The objective of this study was therefore to investigate the effect of the MedDiet in the absence of changes in body weight on apolipoprotein (apo) A-I kinetic in men with metabolic syndrome (MetS).


Twenty-six men with MetS (NCEP-ATP III) were recruited from the general community. In this fixed sequence study, participants’ diet was first standardized to a control diet reflecting current averages in macronutrient intake in North American men, with all foods and beverages provided under isoenergetic conditions for 5 weeks. Participants were then fed an isoenergetic MedDiet over a subsequent period of 5 weeks to maintain their weight constant. During the last week of each diet, participants received a single bolus dose of [5,5,5-2H3] L-leucine and fasting blood samples were collected at predetermined time points. ApoA-I kinetic was determined by multicompartmental modeling using isotopic enrichment data over time. Data were analyses using MIXED models.


The response of HDL-cholesterol (C) to MedDiet was heterogeneous, such that there was no mean change compared with the control diet. Plasma apoA-I concentration (−3.9%) and pool size (−5.3%, both P < 0.05) were significantly lower after MedDiet and apoA-I production rate tended to be reduced (−5.7%, P = 0.07) with no change in apoA-I fractional catabolic rate (FCR, -1.6%, P = 0.64). Participants among whom HDL-C concentrations were increased with MedDiet (responders: mean ∆HDL-C: +9.9 ± 3.2%, N = 11) showed significantly greater reductions in apoA-I FCR and in apoB and very-low-density lipoprotein-triglycerides (VLDL-TG) concentrations (all P < 0.04) than those among whom HDL-C levels were reduced after the MedDiet (non-responders: mean ∆HDL-C: -12.0 ± 3.9%, N = 8). Correlation analysis revealed that only variations in apoA-I FCR (r = -0.48, P = 0.01) and in plasma VLDL-TG (r = −0.45, P = 0.03) concentrations were correlated with the individual HDL-C response to the MedDiet.


Data from this controlled feeding study suggest that the heterogeneous response of HDL-C to MedDiet, in the absence of important weight loss, is primarily related to individual variations in apoA-I FCR and in plasma VLDL-TG concentrations.

Trial registration registration number: NCT00988650

Diet; Apolipoproteins; Lipoproteins; Obesity; Metabolism