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Characterizing the effects of the Mediterannean diet on endothelial dysfunction (ENDOMED)
Start date: Jun 1, 2009, End date: May 31, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"It is well established that death rates from cardiovascular disease are substantially lower in Mediterranean countries, which has been attributed the consumption of an unique collection of foods referred to as the Mediterranean diet. Although the mechanisms underlying the effects of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease remain largely unclear, a important role for polyphenols and monounsaturated fatty acids, which are abundantly present in olive oil, is suspected. Endothelial dysfunction is a hallmark for the initial stage of vascular dysfunction and has been associated with cardiovascular disease. Consumption of high fat meals result in an impaired postprandial endothelial function as measured by flow-mediated dilatation, markers of inflammation and markers of oxidative stress. However, the mechanism that mediate the effects of high fat meals on endothelial function remains unclear. The aim of the present project is to uncover the mechanisms that underlie the preventive effects of the Mediterranean diet on development of cardiovascular diseases, with a focus on endothelial dysfunction and the specific impact of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols. To that end, we will perform whole genome expression profiling on Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells collected from 20 healthy young Caucasian men that received a milkshake containing 55 grams of SFA enriched or MUFA enriched fat as part of a single-blind cross-over dietary intervention trial. In addition, we will expose freshly isolated HUVEC and PBMC with specific dietary fatty acids and polyphenols for analysis of gene expression and protein secretion of specific markers of endothelial activation, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Characterizing the activity and mechanism of action of these dietary components may lead to the identification of valuable new targets in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases."

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