Objective: To investigate the effects of triglycerides and free fatty acids on endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasorelaxation.
Methods: Femoral arterial rings from rats were studied in organ baths. The vascular segments were constricted with phenylephrine after 20 min of preincubation with the triglyceride-rich fat emulsion Intralipid, free fatty acids (16:0, 18:1, 18:3) bound to bovine serum albumin, or very low density lipoproteins. Endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent relaxations were determined after administration of acetylcholine and nitric oxide donors, respectively.
Results: Preincubation with Intralipid caused a concentration-dependent impairment of endothelium-dependent but not endothelium-independent relaxation. Very low density lipoproteins did not affect vascular function. All free fatty acids impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation, whereas endothelium-independent relaxation was unaffected. Administration of the antioxidant vitamin C partly reversed the impairment of the endothelium-dependent relaxation induced by Intralipid and free fatty acids.
Conclusions: The present study demonstrates that the triglyceride-rich fat emulsion Intralipid and individual FFAs impair endothelium-dependent relaxation of arterial rings from rat, whereas triglycerides in the form of VLDL do not affect endothelial function. The finding that the antioxidant vitamin C partly reverses this impairment indicates the involvement of oxidative mechanisms.