Sterol side chain length and structure affect the clearance of chylomicron-like lipid emulsions in rats and mice

Ian J. Martins, Catherine Vilchèze, B. C. Mortimer, Robert Bittman, Trevor G. Redgrave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In previous work we found that sterols such as cholesterol were essential for physiological plasma clearance of lipid emulsions mimicking the structure of mammalian triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. In the present study we compared the clearances of emulsions prepared with sterols of varying alkyl chain length (straight chains, n-C3 to n-C7, or branched chains, i-C5 to i-C10) at the C-17 position. Our studies show that the length of the alkyl chain at the C-17 position of sterols markedly affects the removal of remnant particles from the plasma of rats traced by emulsion cholesteryl oleate label. An alkyl chain of 7 carbons or more was needed for normal remnant clearance. Straight and branched chains of similar length were cleared similarly, showing that the presence of a branch at the end of the alkyl chain had no effect on remnant clearance. For side chains of 7 carbons or less, substitution of sterols with an unsaturation in the alkyl chain close to the terminal carbon markedly decreased the clearance of remnants. Triolein label was used to estimate lipolysis of the injected emulsions. Lipolysis was little affected by the structure of the sterol side chain, except that lipolysis was markedly higher with emulsions containing sterols with an alkyl chain having 4 carbon atoms (n-C4) or with an unsaturation in the 4 carbon alkyl chain. We conclude that the length of the alkyl side chain is an important element in the essentiality of cholesterol as a regulator of metabolism of lipid emulsion models of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)302-312
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkyl chain
  • ApoE knockout mice
  • Cholesteryl oleate
  • Clearance
  • Emulsion
  • Lipolysis
  • Rats
  • Remnants
  • Sterol
  • Triolein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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