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Clin Sci (Lond). 2003 Jul;105(1):81-7.

The effect of a mixed meal on endothelium-dependent vasodilation is dependent on fat content in healthy humans.

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Department of Medical Sciences/Internal Medicine, University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


Impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation (EDV) is an early marker of atherosclerosis. The aim of the present study was to investigate how meals with different fat contents influence endothelial vasodilatory function. A total of 26 young, healthy men and women aged 20-30 years ingested an ordinary Western meal [34 energy% (E%) fat, n =10], or isocaloric meals with low-fat (20 E%, n =8), or minimal-fat (3 E%, n =8) content. EDV was assessed as forearm blood flow (FBF) during local administration of 4 microg/min methacholine chloride (Mch-FBF) and endothelium-independent vasodilation as FBF during administration of 10 microg/min sodium nitroprusside (SNP-FBF) at baseline and 1 and 2 h after each meal. FBF was determined by venous occlusion plethysmography. An endothelial function index (EFI) was calculated as the Mch-FBF/SNP-FBF ratio. Both Mch-FBF and the EFI were decreased at 1 h after the 34 E% fat meal ( P <0.01 and P <0.05 respectively), but approached fasting levels after 2 h. Mch-FBF and EFI did not change significantly in the group consuming the 20 E% fat meal, but increased in the 3 E% fat group ( P <0.01 and P <0.05 compared with baseline for Mch-FBF and EFI respectively). SNP-FBF was not significantly affected by any of the meals. In conclusion, low-fat meals did not attenuate EDV, in contrast with an ordinary Western meal, which transiently impaired EDV. Our findings indicate that a dietary fat content of 20 E% or less might be beneficial to endothelial vasodilatory function.

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