A genetic model for absent chylomicron formation: Mice producing apolipoprotein B in the liver, but not in the intestine

Stephen G. Young, Candace M. Cham, Robert E. Pitas, Betty J. Burri, Andrew Connolly, Laura Flynn, Anuradha S. Pappu, Jinny S. Wong, Robert L. Hamilton, Robert V. Farese

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The formation of chylomicrons by the intestine is important for the absorption of dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins (e.g., retinol, α- tocopherol). Apo B plays an essential structural rule in the formation of chylomicrons in the intestine as well as the VLDL in the liver. We have developed genetically modified mice that express apo B in the liver but not in the intestine. By electron microscopy, the enterocytes of these mice lacked nascent chylomicrons in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. Because these mice could not form chylomicrons, the intestinal villus enterocytes were massively engorged with fat, which was contained in cytosolic lipid droplets. These mice absorbed D-xylose normally, but there was virtually no absorption of retinol palmitate or cholesterol. The levels of α-tocopherol in the plasma were extremely low. Of note, the absence of chylomicron synthesis in the intestine did not appear to have a significant effect on the plasma levels of the apo B-containing lipoproteins produced by the liver. The mice lacking intestinal apo B expression represent the first genetic model of defective absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins and provide a useful animal model for studying nutrition and lipoprotein metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2932-2946
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1995



  • apolipoprotein B
  • cholesterol
  • intestinal fat malabsorption
  • lipoproteins
  • tocopherol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Young, S. G., Cham, C. M., Pitas, R. E., Burri, B. J., Connolly, A., Flynn, L., Pappu, A. S., Wong, J. S., Hamilton, R. L., & Farese, R. V. (1995). A genetic model for absent chylomicron formation: Mice producing apolipoprotein B in the liver, but not in the intestine. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 96(6), 2932-2946. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI118365