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Mediterranean meal versus Western meal effects on postprandial ox-LDL, oxidative and inflammatory gene expression in healthy subjects: a randomized controlled trial for nutrigenomic approach in cardiometabolic risk



Inflammation and oxidative damage contribute significantly to the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Postprandial oxidative stress and inflammation are characterized by an increased susceptibility of the organism toward oxidative damage after consumption of a meal rich in lipids and/or carbohydrates. Micronutrients modulate immune system and exert a protective action by reducing oxidized low-density lipoprotein (ox-LDL) level. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the postprandial plasma ox-LDL level and the gene expression of 13 genes related to oxidative stress (HOSp) and human inflammasome pathways (HIp), after a tocopherol-enriched Mediterranean meal (TEM), and a Western high-fat meal (HFM). Moreover, Mediterranean Adequacy Index was calculated to define the quality of both meals.


We set up a randomized and crossover trial in healthy human volunteers. Ox-LDL level was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and the gene expression of 13 genes related to HOSp and HIp by qRT-PCR.


Ox-LDL levels significantly decreased comparing HFM versus TEM (p < 0.05). Percentages of significantly overexpressed genes after each dietary treatment are as follows: (A) baseline versus HFM: 7.69 % HIp and 23.08 % HOSp; (B) baseline versus TEM: 7.69 % HIp and 7.69 % HOSp; (C) HFM versus TEM: 15.38 % HIp and 15.38 % HOSp.


TEM reduced postprandial risk factors of CVD, such as ox-LDL, and the expression of inflammation and oxidative stress-related genes. Chronic studies on larger population are necessary before definitive conclusions.

Trial registration Id: NCT01890070.

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Author’s contributions

ADL conceived the experiments and had primary responsibility for the final content; LDR designed the experiments and drafted the manuscript; MAP, SB, IG collected the data and performed the experiments; PG analyzed the data. AC developed the MAI calculator. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the data and revision of the manuscript, read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was supported by grants from Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (D.M.; 2017188).

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Correspondence to Antonino De Lorenzo.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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De Lorenzo, A., Bernardini, S., Gualtieri, P. et al. Mediterranean meal versus Western meal effects on postprandial ox-LDL, oxidative and inflammatory gene expression in healthy subjects: a randomized controlled trial for nutrigenomic approach in cardiometabolic risk. Acta Diabetol 54, 141–149 (2017).

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  • Oxidized-LDL
  • Nutrigenomic
  • Mediterranean meal
  • CVD