Increase in intranuclear nuclear factor kappaB and decrease in inhibitor kappaB in mononuclear cells after a mixed meal: evidence for a proinflammatory effect

Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;79(4):682-90. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/79.4.682.


Background: In view of the stimulatory effect of glucose on reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, we investigated the possibility that a mixed meal stimulates ROS generation and possibly induces concomitant proinflammatory changes.

Objective: The objective was to determine whether the intake of a 900-kcal mixed meal induces an increase in ROS generation by leukocytes and an inflammatory response at the cellular level.

Design: Nine normal-weight subjects were given a 900-kcal mixed meal, and 8 normal-weight subjects were given 300 mL water after an overnight fast. Blood samples were collected at 0, 1, 2, and 3 h. ROS generation by mononuclear cells and polymorphonuclear leukocytes and the expression of p47(phox) subunit were measured. Intranuclear nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) binding and the expression of inhibitor kappaBalpha (IkappaBalpha), IkappaB kinase alpha (IKKalpha), and IkappaB kinase beta (IKKbeta) were measured. Plasma concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule were also measured.

Results: ROS generation by mononuclear cells and polymorphonuclear leukocytes and p47(phox) expression increased significantly. The expression of IKKalpha and IKKbeta and DNA-binding activity of NF-kappaB increased significantly, whereas IkappaBalpha expression decreased. Plasma CRP concentrations increased. The intake of 300 mL water did not induce a change in any of the above indexes.

Conclusions: These data show that the intake of a mixed meal results in significant inflammatory changes characterized by a decrease in IkappaBalpha and an increase in NF-kappaB binding, plasma CRP, and the expression of IKKalpha, IKKbeta, and p47(phox) subunit. These proinflammatory changes are probably relevant to the state of chronic hypertension and obesity and to its association with atherosclerosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B / antagonists & inhibitors
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • NF-kappa B
  • Reactive Oxygen Species