European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 348–354 | Cite as

A Mediterranean dietary style influences TNF–alpha and VCAM–1 coronary blood levels in unstable angina patients

  • M. Serrano–MartinezEmail author
  • M. Palacios
  • E. Martinez–Losa
  • R. Lezaun
  • C. Maravi
  • M. Prado
  • J. A. MartÍnez
  • M. A. Martinez–Gonzalez



A Mediterranean dietary pattern has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, as well as a reduction of oxidative stress, but studies indicating possible interactions between food intake and inflammatory mediators production at specific sites are lacking.

Aim of the study

To assess the relationship between Mediterranean diet consumption and inflammatory related molecules production in coronary vessels.


A previously reported Mediterranean–diet score was computed summing–up the quintiles of eight dietary components from a validated food frequency questionnaire in 24 patients with unstable angina. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF–α) and vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM–1) concentrations were measured in coronary sinus blood.


Both biomarkers showed an inverse association with the Mediterraneandiet score. The association between VCAM–1 and the Mediterranean–diet score had an adjusted β coefficient of –35.1 ng/ml (95% coefficient interval, CI: –63.5 to –6.7). The adjusted β coefficient using TNF–α as the dependent variable was –41.6 pg/ml (95 % CI: –76.2 to –7.1). The consumption of olive oil as a single item showed a significant inverse association, and a Mediterranean–diet score excluding olive oil was also inversely associated with TNF–α and VCAM–1 serum levels in coronary venous blood.


Adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern may protect against coronary artery wall production of inflammatory mediators. This finding could provide a novel mechanistic explanation for the recognized lower coronary risk associated with a Mediterranean diet.

Key words

coronary disease atherosclerosis diet angina cardiovascular risk 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Serrano–Martinez
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • M. Palacios
    • 3
  • E. Martinez–Losa
    • 2
  • R. Lezaun
    • 4
  • C. Maravi
    • 4
  • M. Prado
    • 2
  • J. A. MartÍnez
    • 5
  • M. A. Martinez–Gonzalez
    • 1
  1. 1.Depto. de Epidemiología y Salud PúblicaUniversidad de NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Primary Care Regional ServicesNavarra Health ServicesPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Biochemistry Service Hospital de NavarraNavarra Health ServicesPamplonaSpain
  4. 4.Cardiology Service Hospital de NavarraNavarra Health ServicesPamplonaSpain
  5. 5.Dept. of Physiology and NutritionUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain

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