High-fat diets inflame fat tissue around blood vessels, contribute to heart disease

Feb 18, 2009

A study by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) shows that high-fat diets, even if consumed for a short amount of time, can inflame fat tissue surrounding blood vessels, possibly contributing to cardiovascular disease.

These findings will be published in the Feb. 20 edition of the American Heart Association journal Circulation Research.

Neal Weintraub, MD, and colleagues examined adipose tissue—or fat—surrounding the coronary arteries of humans. The researchers found these fat cells to be highly inflamed, suggesting that they could trigger inflammation of the blood vessels, an important component of atherosclerosis.

They also found that the inflammation of fat tissues around the arteries of mice is increased by feeding the animals a high-fat diet for just two weeks.

"This is independent of weight gain or blood lipids—cholesterol levels," says Weintraub, senior author of the study and chair of the cardiovascular diseases division at UC.

Weintraub says that high fat diets contribute to atherosclerosis—or the hardening of arteries—in a number of ways.

"Elevated blood lipids—or cholesterol levels—can worsen with the intake of high fat diets, and this is known to contribute to atherosclerosis," he says. "However, many patients who consume high fat diets do not exhibit abnormal lipid profiles but still develop atherosclerosis nonetheless.

"These new findings suggest a direct link between poor dietary habits and inflammation of blood vessels, mediated by the fat cells surrounding the blood vessel wall."

Weintraub adds that the diet fed to the mouse models was not unlike the diets consumed by many Americans.

"It produced striking abnormalities of the fat tissue surrounding blood vessels in a very short period of time," he says. "This is a warning to those who say there isn't a problem because their weight and cholesterol levels are under control. Lipid profiles don't hold all the answers.

"Bad dietary habits can lead to a number of problems, and this suggests that a high fat diet is detrimental in ways we didn't previously understand."

Weintraub says there is no real way to measure the effects of poor dietary habits on fat tissue surrounding blood vessels.

"We don't know why these cells are so responsive to high-fat diets," he says. "We must now conduct further experiments to answer these types of questions."

Source: University of Cincinnati

Explore further: Study shows Tamiflu gets patients back on their feet faster, reduces flu complications

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Planck: Gravitational waves remain elusive

1 hour ago

Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA's Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial ...

Evidence mounts for quantum criticality theory

2 hours ago

A new study by a team of physicists at Rice University, Zhejiang University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Florida State University and the Max Planck Institute adds to the growing body of evidence supporting ...

Recommended for you

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

1 hour ago

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

7 hours ago

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

8 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.