Proceedings of The Physiological Society

University of Manchester (2010) Proc Physiol Soc 19, PC61

Poster Communications

Investigating the effects of acute high-fat intake on human endothelial integrity

R. M. Crisp1, N. S. Freestone1, F. I. Arrigoni1

1. Pharmacy, Kingston University, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom.


Atherosclerosis, is an inflammatory disease, the onset of which is understood to exist as a result of a reduction in endothelial integrity over time. This is believed to be caused by a balance between vascular injury sustained and the ability to repair this damage. Diet and dietary fats have been linked to inflammation of the endothelium, by measurement of inflammatory markers, and even the postprandial hours immediately after a high-fat meal are characterised by acute increases in such markers. [Tsai et al, 2004]. In this study we have assessed endothelial injury by measuring levels of circulating mature endothelial cells (CEC) and, as a measure of endothelial repair, colony forming unit endothelial progenitor cells (CFU), in adults before and after consumption of a high fat meal. Healthy male volunteers (n=13) aged between 23 and 48 years were recruited. The participants were required to fast for 12 hours prior to the experiment. Blood samples were taken before and 1 hour after the fatty snack. The total nutritional content of the meal was 1000 kcal, 54.4 g fat (58 % saturated fat) in accordance with the test meal used by Tsai et al (2004). EPCs were cultured and CECs were enumerated from these blood samples [Clarke et al, 2008] The number of CEC mL-1 significantly increased (p = 0.001) following consumption of the fatty snack (median = 44, IQ range = 30) from baseline recordings (median = 20, IQ range = 16). Conversely CFU numbers significantly decreased (p = 0.024) following the consumption of the fatty snack (median = 8.25, IQ range = 10.54) from baseline levels (median = 16.54, IQ range = 11.06). The literature presents numerous examples of both CECs and EPCs, individually used as markers of inflammation, some including inflammation induced by a high-fat meal [Boos et al, 2006, Erdbruegger et al, 2006]. Here we have assessed the effect of a high fat meal on both EPCs and CECs. Levels of CFUS decrease with a fatty meal, with a concomitant increase in levels of CECs. This suggests that the endothelium is already undergoing the acute damaging effects of a high (58% saturated fat) meal after only 1 hour postprandially.

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