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Our purpose was to examine the effects of daily servings of butter, no-trans-fat margarine and plant sterol margarine, within recommended amounts, on plasma lipids, apolipoproteins (Apos), biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, and on the transfer of lipids to HDL particles in free-living subjects with the metabolic syndrome.This was a randomized, single-blind study where 53 metabolic syndrome subjects (62% women, mean age 54 years) received isocaloric servings of butter, no-trans-fat margarine or plant sterol margarine in addition to their usual diets for 5 weeks. The main outcome measures were plasma lipids, Apo, inflammatory and endothelial dysfunction markers (CRP, IL-6, CD40L or E-selectin), small dense LDL cholesterol concentrations and in vitro radioactive lipid transfer from cholesterol-rich emulsions to HDL. Difference among groups was evaluated by analysis of variance.There was a significant reduction in Apo-B (−10.4%, P = 0.043) and in the Apo-B/Apo-A-1 ratio (−11.1%, P = 0.034) with plant sterol margarine. No changes in plasma lipids were noticed with butter and no-trans-fat margarine. Transfer rates of lipids to HDL were reduced in the no-trans-fat margarine group: triglycerides −42.0%, (P<0.001 vs butter and sterol margarine) and free cholesterol −16.2% (P = 0.006 vs sterol margarine). No significant effects were noted on the concentrations of inflammatory and endothelial dysfunction markers among the groups.In free-living subjects with the metabolic syndrome consumption of plant sterol and no-trans-fat margarines within recommended amounts reduced, respectively, Apo-B concentrations and the ability of HDL to accept lipids.