Hypercholesterolemia, induced by a cholesterol-enriched diet, is associated with distinctive modifications in the serum lipoproteins of a variety of species. Present in the serum of these animals are several classes of lipoproteins enriched in cholesteryl esters and apolipoprotein E. To investigate the role of intestinal lipoprotein synthesis in diet-induced hypercholesterolemia, we characterized nascent lipoproteins retrieved from Golgi apparatus-rich fractions of intestinal epithelial cells from chow-fed control and hypercholesterolemic rats. To eliminate chylomicrons from the preparations, rats were fasted overnight prior to the experiments. Golgi very low density lipoproteins (d less than 1.006 g/ml) from control rats were triglyceride-rich lipoproteins that migrated slightly slower than pre-beta migrating serum very low density lipoproteins. These particles contained apoproteins B-240, A-IV, and A-I. Golgi very low density lipoproteins from hypercholesterolemic rats were likewise triglyceride-rich lipoproteins migrating electrophoretically like control Golgi very low density lipoproteins and they contained apoproteins B-240, A-IV, and A-I. However, these latter particles contained less triglyceride and more cholesterol compared to control Golgi very low density lipoproteins. In addition, by radioisotope incorporation studies, Golgi very low density lipoproteins from hypercholesterolemic rats contained relatively more apoprotein A-IV (21.6 vs. 11.0%) and less apoprotein B-240 (17.0 vs. 27.0%) than found in control Golgi very low density lipoproteins. Approximately 60% of the total apoprotein radioactivity was found in apoprotein A-I in both preparations. We conclude that intestinal lipoprotein synthesis is modified by diet-induced hypercholesterolemia. The significance of these modifications with respect to the marked hypercholesterolemia observed in these animals remains to be determined.