British Journal of Nutrition

Short communication

Use of water-miscible retinyl palmitate as markers of chylomicrons gives earlier peak response of plasma retinyl esters compared with oil-soluble retinyl palmitate

K. D. Renukaa1, R. Silvaa1, Christine M. Williamsa1 and Julie A. Lovegrovea1 c1

a1 Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, School of Food Biosciences, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AP, UK


Delayed peak response of plasma retinyl esters (RE) relative to plasma triacylglycerols (TAG) and apolipoprotein (Apo) B-48 responses following a fat load supplemented with vitamin A raised doubts about the use of vitamin A to label dietary-derived lipids and lipoproteins. The present study compared the use of water-miscible and oil-soluble retinyl palmitate (RP) as markers of dietary-derived lipoproteins in healthy subjects along with the measurements of postprandial plasma TAG and ApoB-48 responses to investigate whether the delayed peak response observed was due to delayed intestinal output of RE from oil-based solutions. Nine healthy female subjects were given a standard test meal containing a dose (112 mg) of RP in either water-miscible or oil-soluble form in random order, on two separate occasions after a 12 h overnight fast. The results showed that the mean plasma RE concentrations reached a peak significantly later than mean plasma TAG and ApoB-48 concentrations when oil-soluble RP was consumed, whereas plasma RE peaked earlier relative to plasma TAG and ApoB-48 responses when water-miscible RP was used. The results suggested a more rapid absorption with a significantly higher and earlier peak response of plasma RE when water-miscible RP was consumed. This was in contrast to the delayed initial appearance and later sustained higher concentrations of plasma RE during the late postprandial period when oil-soluble RP was consumed. The RE response to the water-miscible RP showed better concordance with plasma TAG response than that of oil-soluble RP.

(Received January 12 2001)

(Revised June 01 2001)

(Accepted June 11 2001)


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr Julie A. Lovegrove, fax +44 118 931 0080, email