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Keywords:

  • Lipid reactivity;
  • Lipid metabolism;
  • Gender differences;
  • Stress reactivity;
  • Triglyceride clearance rate

Acute stress elevates blood lipids, with the largest increases among men and postmenopausal women. The mechanisms for the effect are unknown, but may be due to altered lipid metabolism. This study investigated if acute stress induces transient reductions in triglyceride clearance in middle-aged men and women, and determined if gender and menopause affect triglyceride metabolism. Of the 35 women, half were premenopausal, and half were naturally postmenopausal; men (n= 35) were age matched. Clearance of an intravenously administered fat emulsion was assessed twice: once during a nonstress session, and again during a stress-testing session. During the stress session, a battery of behavioral stressors (serial subtraction, speech, mirror tracing, and Stroop) were performed for 40 min. The clearance rate of exogenous fat was significantly diminished during the stress, relative to the nonstress session. Women had more efficient clearance, relative to men, but there were no effects of menopausal status. The diminished ability to clear an intravenous fat emulsion during stress suggests one mechanism for stress-induced elevations in lipids.