Serum lipoproteins were explored on the first day of life (D1) and on the sixth day (D6) in blood drawn by peripheral venipuncture from 43 normal term newborns, 22 breast-fed and 21 formula-fed, and were compared to those of a control group of 28 young adults. With the exception of apolipoprotein E (Apo E), values of lipoprotein components obtained at D1 were similar, although generally slightly lower than those previously reported for cord blood serum. Total Apo E concentration at D1 (71 +/- 25 mg/l) was much higher than that obtained for the adult group (30 +/- 7 mg/l). Apo E distribution within the lipoprotein spectrum confirmed the presence of an already known Apo E-rich high density lipoprotein subfraction, which was responsible for the high total Apo E level at birth. The rise of lipoproteins of low density from D1 to D6, as evidenced by the increase of very low density lipoprotein + low density lipoprotein cholesterol and low density lipoprotein apolipoprotein B concentrations, was shown to be diet dependent. It was significantly less important in newborns fed a standard formula moderately enriched in unsaturated fatty acids than in breast-fed newborns.