a1 Lipid Metabolism Laboratory, JM-USDA-Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA, 02111, USA
Polymorphisms at the APOA1/C3/A4 gene cluster and the APOE gene have been extensively studied in order to examine their potential association with plasma lipid levels, coronary heart disease risk and more recently with inter-individual variability in response to dietary therapies. Although the results have not been uniform across studies, the current research supports the concept that variation at these genes explains a significant, but still rather small, proportion of the variability in fasting and postprandial plasma lipid responses to dietary interventions. This information constitutes the initial frame to develop panels of genetic markers that could be used to predict individual responsiveness to dietary therapy for the prevention of coronary heart disease. Future progress in this complex area will come from experiments carried out using animal models, and from carefully controlled dietary protocols in humans that should include the assessment of several other candidate gene loci coding for products that play a relevant role in lipoprotein metabolism (i.e. APOB, CETP, LPL, FABP2, SRBI, ABC1 and CYP7).