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: CT scan is no more accurate than ultrasound to detect kidney stones

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A tiny, time-released treatment

Oct 09, 2013

Omid Farokhzad's vision of medicine's future sounds a lot like science fiction. He sees medicine scaled down, with vanishingly small nanoparticles playing a big role, delivering drug doses measured in molecules ...

Clot-dissolving bubbles to treat strokes?

Sep 25, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers are using computer simulations to investigate how ultrasound and tiny bubbles injected into the bloodstream might break up blood clots, limiting the damage caused by a stroke ...

Researchers discover the origins of key immune cells

Jul 05, 2012

Chronic inflammatory conditions are extremely common diseases in humans and in the entire animal kingdom. Both in autoimmune diseases and pathogen-caused diseases, the inflamed areas are rapidly colonized by antibody producing ...

Recommended for you

Swatting chikungunya

2 hours ago

Summer days may be waning, but health officials are still on high alert for new cases of chikungunya, a painful mosquito-borne virus that spread to the United States from the tropics earlier this year. ...

Sierra Leone readies for controversial Ebola lockdown

2 hours ago

Sierra Leone prepared Thursday for an unprecedented three-day nationwide lockdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus in a controversial move which experts claimed could worsen the epidemic.

Nepal adopts jab to boost polio fight

2 hours ago

Nepal on Thursday launched a drive to eradicate polio by supplementing oral vaccines with an injection that experts say will boost children's immunity against the disease.

User comments : 0