Consumption of Saturated Fat Impairs the Anti-Inflammatory Properties of High-Density Lipoproteins and Endothelial Function

Stephen J. Nicholls, Pia Lundman, Jason A. Harmer, Belinda Cutri, Kaye A. Griffiths, Kerry Anne Rye, Philip J. Barter, David S. Celermajer

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182 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of dietary fatty acids on the anti-inflammatory properties of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and vascular function. Background: The effect of dietary fatty acids on atherogenesis remains uncertain. Methods: Fourteen adults consumed an isocaloric meal containing either a polyunsaturated or a saturated fat on 2 occasions. The effects of post-prandial HDL on endothelial cell expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) were determined. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and microvascular reactivity were assessed before and 3 and 6 h after the meal. Results: Plasma triglycerides, insulin, and nonesterified fatty acids rose after the meals. The HDL collected 6 h after the saturated meal were less effective than HDL isolated from fasting plasma in terms of their ability to inhibit expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1, whereas HDL collected 6 h after the polyunsaturated meal had an inhibitory activity that was greater than that of HDL collected from fasting plasma (p < 0.004 and p = 0.01 for comparison of effect of meals on ICAM-1 and VCAM-1, respectively). Post-hyperemic microvascular flow significantly increased at 3 h after the polyunsaturated meal by 45 ± 14% and by 21 ± 11% after the saturated meal. The FMD decreased 3 h after the saturated meal by 2.2 ± 0.9% (p < 0.05 compared with baseline) and by 0.9 ± 1% after the polyunsaturated meal. Conclusions: Consumption of a saturated fat reduces the anti-inflammatory potential of HDL and impairs arterial endothelial function. In contrast, the anti-inflammatory activity of HDL improves after consumption of polyunsaturated fat. These findings highlight novel mechanisms by which different dietary fatty acids may influence key atherogenic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-720
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 15 Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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