British Journal of Nutrition

Molecular Nutrition

Effect of the fat composition of a single high-fat meal on inflammatory markers in healthy young women

Mari C. W. Myhrstada1, Ingunn Narveruda1a2, Vibeke H. Telle-Hansena1a2, Toni Karhua3, Daniel Bødtker Lunda1, Karl-Heinz Herziga3, Markus Makinena3, Bente Halvorsena4a5, Kjetil Retterstøla6, Bente Kirkhusa7a8, Linda Granlunda7, Kirsten B. Holvena2 and Stine M. Ulvena1 c1

a1 Faculty of Health, Nutrition and Management, Akershus University College, PO Box 423, NO-2001 Lillestrøm, Norway

a2 Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, PO Box 1046, Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway

a3 Institutes of Biomedicine and Diagnostics and Biocentre of Oulu, Oulu University Medical School, PO Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland

a4 Research Institute for Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, PO Box 4950 Nydalen, N-0424 Oslo, Norway

a5 Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, PO Box 1046 Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway

a6 Lipid Clinic, Rikshospitalet, Oslo University Hospital, N-0027 Oslo, Norway

a7 Mills DA, PO Box 4644 Sofienberg, N-0506 Oslo, Norway

a8 Nofima AS, Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, N-1430 Ås, Norway


The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of a single high-fat meal with different fat quality on circulating inflammatory markers and gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to elucidate the role of fat quality on postprandial inflammation. A postprandial study with fourteen healthy females consuming three test meals with different fat quality was performed. Test days were separated by 2 weeks. Fasting and postprandial blood samples at 3 and 6 h after intake were analysed. The test meal consisted of three cakes enriched with coconut fat (43 % energy as saturated fat and 1 % energy as α-linolenic acid (ALA)), linseed oil (14 % energy as ALA and 30 % energy as saturated fat) and cod liver oil (5 % energy as EPA and DHA and 5 % energy as ALA in addition to 31 % energy as saturated fat). In addition, ex vivo PBMC experiments were performed in eight healthy subjects investigating the effects of EPA and ALA on release and gene expression of inflammatory markers. The IL-8 mRNA level was significantly increased after intake of the cod liver oil cake at 6 h compared with fasting level, which was significantly different from the effect observed after the intake of linseed cake. In contrast, no effect was seen on circulating level of IL-8. In addition, ALA and EPA were shown to elicit different effects on the release and mRNA expression levels of inflammatory markers in PBMC cultured ex vivo, with EPA having the most prominent pro-inflammatory potential.

(Received October 29 2010)

(Revised April 01 2011)

(Accepted April 01 2011)

(Online publication June 07 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Stine Marie Ulven, fax +47 64 849002, email


Abbreviations: ALA, α-linolenic acid; CPT1A, carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1A; CRP, C-reactive protein; Ct, cycle threshold; PBMC, peripheral blood mononuclear cells