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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014 Jan;58(1):136-46. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300104. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

High-fat meal induced postprandial inflammation.

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Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit, University of Leicester, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, UK.


Raised levels of circulating inflammatory markers are associated with coronary artery disease, obesity and type II diabetes. It has been proposed that the ingestion of high-fat meals may serve as a stimulus to raise systemic inflammatory tone, although interventional studies have yielded conflicting results. We here review 57 studies of high-fat meal induced acute postprandial inflammation to identify the most frequently reported markers of postprandial inflammation and to compare these results with the highly consistent low-grade endotoxaemia model in man. Most plasma borne markers of inflammation, such as cytokines and soluble adhesion molecules, were not consistently raised after a high-fat meal. However, pro-inflammatory leukocyte surface markers, mRNA and proteins were elevated in almost all studies in which they were measured. These markers followed kinetics similar to those observed following intravenous injection of low doses of endotoxin in man, were positively associated with likelihood of contamination of test meals with pro-inflammatory bacterial molecules and were reduced in several studies examining parallel meals supplemented with foodstuffs containing anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Future studies of postprandial inflammation may yield more consistent evidence by focusing on leukocyte, rather than plasma-borne, markers of inflammation and by considering the test meal content of pro- and anti-inflammatory dietary constituents.


Endotoxin; High-fat meal; Postprandial inflammation; Toll-like receptor

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