A high-fat diet induces and red wine counteracts endothelial dysfunction in human volunteers

Lipids. 2000 Feb;35(2):143-8. doi: 10.1007/BF02664763.


Endothelial dysfunction is associated with atherogenesis and oxidative stress in humans. In rat and rabbit blood vessels, wine polyphenol antioxidants induce vascular relaxation in vitro through the NO-cGMP pathway. To assess the effect of a regular high-fat diet (HFD) and moderate red wine consumption on endothelial function (EF), a study was performed in healthy male volunteers. EF was measured as flow-mediated dilatation of the brachial artery, employing high-resolution ultrasound after an overnight fast. Other clinical and biochemical parameters related to EF were also measured. Six volunteers received a control diet, rich in fruits and vegetables (27% calories as fat) and five volunteers received an HFD (39.5% calories as fat). Measurements were done twice on each volunteer: after a period of 30 d with diet plus 240 mL of red wine/d, and after a period of 30 d with diet, without wine. In the absence of wine, there is a reduction of EF with HFD when compared to the control diet (P = 0.014). This loss of EF is not seen when both diets are supplemented with wine for 30 d (P = 0.001). Plasma levels of n-3 fatty acids (R2 = 0.232, P = 0.023) and lycopene (R2 = 0.223, P = 0.020) show a positive correlation with individual EF measurements, but they do not account for the significant differences observed among dietary groups or after wine supplementation. These results help elucidate the deleterious effect of a high-fat diet and the protective role of wine, n-3 fatty acids and dietary antioxidants in cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / blood
  • Brachial Artery / drug effects
  • Brachial Artery / physiology
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood
  • Fruit
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitroglycerin / pharmacology
  • Transaminases / blood
  • Vasodilation / drug effects
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology
  • Vegetables
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood
  • Wine*
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Homocysteine
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Transaminases
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Vitamin B 12