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Effects of the n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids ratio on postprandial metabolism in hypertriacylglycerolemia patients

Zhixiu Song12, Ligang Yang1, Guofang Shu3, Huixia Lu3 and Guiju Sun1*

Author Affiliations

1 Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine and Engineering of Ministry of Education, and Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, School of Public Health, Southeast University, 87 Ding Jia Qiao Road, Nanjing 210009, China

2 Second Clinical Medical College, Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 138 Xian Lin Road, Nanjing 210046, China

3 Zhongda Hospital Affiliated, Southeast University, 87 Ding Jia Qiao Road, Nanjing 210009, China

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2013, 12:181  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-181

Published: 10 December 2013



Atherosclerosis is a postprandial phenomenon. The balanced n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio contributing to the prevention of atherosclerosis has been well shown, but the effect of the ratio on postprandial metabolism has not been fully investigated. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the n-6/n-3 PUFAs ratio on postprandial metabolism in hypertriacylglycerolemia patients, comparing them to healthy controls.


Test meals with 0.97 (high n-3) and 8.80 (low n-3) n-6/n-3 PUFAs ratio were administered in a randomized crossover design to 8 healthy and 8 hypertriacylglycerolemia subjects. Blood samples were collected for 8 hours after meals to measure triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), HDL, ApoA, ApoB, glucose, insulin, inflammatory makers including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), endothelial function including nitric oxide (NO) and endothelin-1 (ET-1).


According to repeated–measures ANOVA, the postprandial response of lipid, glucose, insulin, inflammation and endothelial function were not significantly different between meals. The postprandial TG and NO response were significantly different between healthy control (HC) and hypertriglyceridemia group (HTG) after both meals (P < 0.01). After both meals maximal change and iAUC for TG was all higher in HTG group than HC group, the difference was significant after low n-3 meal but not after high n-3 meal. The concentration of glucose, insulin, IL-6, TNFα and ET-1 at each time point was higher and NO was lower in HTG group, but the maximal change and iAUC had no significant difference except for iAUC of insulin, IL-6 and diAUC of NO after low n-3 meal.


The ratio of n-6 and n-3 maybe do not acutely influence the postprandial metabolism, inflammatory response and endothelial function, but the low n-3 meal can strengthen the difference between HTG and HC group.

n-6 PUFAs; n-3 PUFAs; Postprandial metabolism; Hypertriacylglycerolemia; Inflammatory; Endothelial function