A triglyceride-rich fat emulsion and free fatty acids but not very low density lipoproteins impair endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation

Atherosclerosis. 2001 Nov;159(1):35-41. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9150(01)00478-6.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / pharmacology*
  • Femoral Artery
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitroarginine / pharmacology
  • Nitroprusside / pharmacology
  • Oleic Acid / pharmacology
  • Palmitic Acid / pharmacology
  • Penicillamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Penicillamine / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Triglycerides / pharmacology*
  • Vasodilation / drug effects*
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology
  • omega-N-Methylarginine / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Nitric Oxide Donors
  • S-nitro-N-acetylpenicillamine
  • Triglycerides
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Nitroprusside
  • Nitroarginine
  • omega-N-Methylarginine
  • Oleic Acid
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Penicillamine
  • Acetylcholine
  • Ascorbic Acid