Circulating levels of endothelial function are modulated by dietary monounsaturated fat

Atherosclerosis. 1999 Aug;145(2):351-8. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9150(99)00116-1.


Background: For the most part, the benefits of monounsaturated-rich diets (MUFA-diet) have been related to their action on plasma lipid levels. However other non-lipidic effects could also be involved in their protective effects. One of these involves the decrease in plasma levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1), the main inhibitor of fibrinolysis. Given that the PAI-1 is of endothelial origin, one hypothesis is that the MUFA-diet could protect against CHD by modulating some endothelial components.

Methods and results: Healthy male subjects (n = 25) received three different consecutive diets, each lasting 28 days: a low fat NCEP-I-diet, with 28% calories as fat, 10% saturated fat (SAT), 12% monounsaturated (MUFA) and 6% polyunsaturated (PUFA); a MUFA-diet, with 38% calories as fat, 10% SAT, 22% MUFA and 6% PUFA; and a SAT rich-diet (SAT-diet), with 38% calories as fat, 20% SAT, 12% MUFA and 6% PUFA. After each dietary period, the plasma lipid profile was determined, including total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, total triglyceride, apo A1, apo B plasma levels and conjugated diene formation, after incubation of LDL particles with Cu 5 microM/l. Endothelial products measured in plasma were von Willebrand factor (vWF), E-selectin, Thrombomodulin and Tissue Factor Pathway Inhibitor (TFPI) levels. We observed a decrease in vWF, PAI-1 and TFPI plasma levels and an increase in lag time of conjugated diene formation after the MUFA-diet. There was a positive correlation between the decreases in TFPI and vWF and the changes in total cholesterol, LDL-C, apo B plasma levels. The decrease in TFPI was negatively correlated with the increase in lag time of conjugated diene formation. PAI-1 plasma levels were positively correlated with total cholesterol, LDL-C and triglycerides and negatively correlated with HDL-C.

Conclusions: Consumption of a Mediterranean-type MUFA-diet produces a decrease in plasma levels of vWF, TFPI and PAI-1 plasma levels in young healthy males. Given that these substances are of endothelial origin, one could suggest that the MUFA of the diet has a beneficial effect on endothelial function resulting in protective changes against thrombogenesis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / blood
  • Apolipoproteins B / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • E-Selectin / blood*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Male
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / blood
  • Thrombomodulin / blood*
  • von Willebrand Factor / metabolism*


  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • E-Selectin
  • Factor Xa Inhibitors
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Lipoproteins
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • Thrombomodulin
  • lipoprotein-associated coagulation inhibitor
  • von Willebrand Factor