1. We hypothesized that differences within genes whose protein products are involved in apolipoprotein B metabolism could influence the response of plasma apolipoprotein B-containing lipoprotein concentrations to increases in dietary fibre.

2. We studied 67 subjects (43 men and 24 women) who had taken part in parallel 2 week metabolic dietary studies involving either wheat bran or oat bran supplementation. Fasting blood lipid, lipoprotein and apolipoprotein concentrations were measured at the start and end of the 2 week metabolic period. Genotypes were determined using DNA markers for the low-density lipoprotein receptor, apolipoprotein B, apolipoprotein CIII and hepatic lipase gene loci.

3. Reductions in plasma concentrations of apolipoprotein B were significantly different depending on genotype determined with a low-density lipoprotein receptor DNA marker (P = 0.03). There was no significant variation in the reduction of plasma total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or apolipoprotein B concentrations for alleles of other genes tested.

4. Thus, genetic variability is associated with inter-individual differences in the fibre-related reduction in plasma apolipoprotein B and apolipoprotein B-containing lipoprotein concentrations. Implementation of current dietary recommendations to reduce plasma lipoprotein levels with fibre may have variable effects in different individuals in part because of structural differences in candidate genes whose products are involved in lipoprotein metabolism.

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