Postprandial leukocyte increase in healthy subjects

Metabolism. 2003 Feb;52(2):199-202. doi: 10.1053/meta.2003.50037.


Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disorder involving leukocytes and lipids. To study the relationship between leukocytes and lipids in vivo, leukocyte changes were determined in 14 healthy males (age, 23 +/- 3 years; body mass index [BMI], 21.9 +/- 1.5 kg/m(2)) after an 8-hour oral fat load (50 g/m(2)) and after water. The postprandial triglyceride (TG) increment after fat was paralleled by a leukocyte increment, due to an increase in neutrophils in the first 2 hours (142% +/- 69% higher than baseline, P =.04). Neutrophil counts did not return to baseline at the end of the test. Water ingestion did not induce significant neutrophil changes. Blood lymphocytes increased gradually in both tests (142% +/- 30% higher than baseline, P <.001 after fat, and 128% +/- 36%, P =.02 after water). The total leukocyte increment after fat ingestion was related to the postprandial TG increase (Spearman's r = 0.73, P =.003). An early postprandial, lipid-specific, neutrophil increment is a new characteristic of the postprandial phase. Future studies will elucidate the role of postprandial leukocyte changes in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / cytology*
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Reference Values


  • Dietary Fats