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Effect of Mediterranean diet on the expression of pro-atherogenic genes in a population at high cardiovascular risk

  • Vicenta Llorente-Cortés
    Affiliations
    Cardiovascular Research Center, CSIC-ICCC, Hospital Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Ramón Estruch
    Affiliations
    CiberObn, Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y la Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain

    Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clinic, IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Mari Pau Mena
    Affiliations
    CiberObn, Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y la Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain

    Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Clinic, IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Emilio Ros
    Affiliations
    CiberObn, Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y la Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain

    Lipid Clinic, Service of Endocrinology & Nutrition, Hospital Clinic, IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Miguel Angel Martínez González
    Affiliations
    Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Navarra, Spain
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  • Montserrat Fitó
    Affiliations
    CiberObn, Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y la Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain

    Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group, Municipal Institute for Medical Research, Barcelona, Spain
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  • Rosa María Lamuela-Raventós
    Affiliations
    CiberObn, Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y la Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain

    Department of Nutrition and Food Science, School of Pharmacy, University of Barcelona, Spain
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  • Lina Badimon
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Cardiovascular Research Center, CSIC-ICCC, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Sant Antoni Ma Claret, 167, 08025 Barcelona, Spain.
    Affiliations
    Cardiovascular Research Center, CSIC-ICCC, Hospital Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain

    CiberObn, Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y la Nutrición, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain
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      Abstract

      Experimental and epidemiological studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet (TMD) on the incidence and progression of atherosclerosis. Several genes play a major role in determining atherosclerosis susceptibility. We compared the short-term effects of two TMD diets versus a control diet on the expression of pro-atherogenic genes. One TMD diet was supplemented with virgin olive oil (VOO) (TMD + VOO) and the other with nuts (TMD + nuts). Gene expression was analyzed in monocytes from 49 asymptomatic high cardiovascular-risk participants (23 men, 26 women), aged 55–80 years. Monocytes were isolated from blood before and 3 months after dietary intervention. We analyzed the expression of genes involved in inflammation [cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP-1)], genes involved in foam cell formation [low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP1), LDL receptor and CD36], and genes involved in thrombosis [tissue factor (TF) and tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI)]. We found that TMD + VOO intervention prevented an increase in COX-2 and LRP1, and reduced MCP-1 expression compared to TMD + nuts or control diet interventions. TMD + nuts specifically increased the expression of CD36 and TFPI compared to TMD + VOO and control diet intervention.
      Our findings showed that the Mediterranean diet influences expression of key genes involved in vascular inflammation, foam cell formation and thrombosis. Dietary intervention can thus actively modulate the expression of pro-atherothrombotic genes even in a high-risk population.

      Keywords

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