Diurnal variations in the plasma concentrations of mevalonic acid in patients with abetalipoproteinaemia


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Abstract Previous studies have demonstrated that changes in the rates of cholesterol biosynthesis can be evaluated by the determination of plasma concentrations of sterol intermediates, including mevalonic acid and lathosterol and that, in normal human subjects, a diurnal rhythm exists in which the highest concentrations of sterol intermediates are observed at night. The factors responsible for this diurnal rhythm in cholesterol synthesis are, however, unknown. To test the hypothesis that the nocturnal increase in cholesterol biosynthesis is attributable to a reduced rate of hepatic uptake of chylomicron remnants at night as compared to higher rates of uptake during the daytime in response to alimentary lipaemia, we have examined the diurnal rhythm of mevalonic acid in six normal volunteers and three patients with phenotypic abetalipoproteinaemia. The latter patients do not absorb appreciable amounts of dietary cholesterol and are unable to synthesize chylomicron particles. Plasma concentrations of mevalonic acid exhibited a diurnal rhythm in the normal subjects, and the highest plasma concentrations were observed between 24.00 hours/04.00 hours. A similar rhythm was observed in the plasma of patients with abetalipoproteinaemia. These results suggest that the nocturnal increase in cholesterol biosynthesis which occurs in humans is not attributable to reduced hepatic uptake of chylomicron remnants at night; further studies are needed to better define those factors which influence the periodicity of cholesterol biosynthesis in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-702
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1994



  • Abetalipoproteinaemia
  • cholesterol biosynthesis
  • chylomicron remnants
  • diurnal rhythms
  • mevalonic acid.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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