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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2000 Aug;36(2):417-22.

Enhanced peripheral vasodilation in humans after a fatty meal.

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Department of Cardiology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia.



We sought to study the effects of a fatty meal on vascular reactivity, including endothelial function and maximal vasodilation.


Recent reports regarding the physiological changes in peripheral vasculature after eating a fatty meal have been controversial.


Twelve volunteers were studied before, 3 h after, and 6 h after a high-fat meal (1030 kcal, 61 g fat) rich in saturated fatty acids, and 10 were restudied after a similar meal rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. Endothelial function was assessed as flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) in the brachial artery using ultrasound. Resting and postischemic forearm blood flow (FBF) were recorded using venous occlusion strain-gauge plethysmography, before, and every 10 to 15 s after, 5 min upper arm ischemia.


Brachial artery basal diameter, resting FBF and postischemic hyperemia increased after high-fat meals (all p<0.001), whereas FMD did not change. The increase in resting FBF correlated with increases in postprandial insulin (r = 0.80, p<0.002) and triglyceride (r = 0.77, p<0.005) levels.


We concluded that eating a fatty meal induces vasodilation and increases resting and stimulated FBF and that these observations are probably mediated by postprandial changes in insulin and/or triglyceride levels. The metabolic changes that occur after meals are not associated with impaired endothelial nitric oxide release in the conduit arteries.

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