Background: This study evaluated a possible relationship between levels of endothelial microparticles (EMPs), known to be a sensitive indicator of endothelial disturbance, and changes in postprandial lipid levels in healthy volunteers after a low- or high-fat meal.
Methods and results: Eighteen healthy subjects without known cardiovascular risk factors were evaluated. Lipid and EMP levels were measured before and 1 and 3 hours after a single low- or high-fat isocaloric meal. The low-fat meal had no significant postprandial effect on EMPs or lipids compared with fasting levels. In contrast, a single high-fat meal significantly increased EMP levels after 1 and 3 hours, from 389+/-54 (thousands per milliliter) when fasting to 541+/-139 (P=0.0002) and 677+/-159 (P<0.0001), respectively, and correlated with a postprandial elevation in serum triglycerides.
Conclusions: A single high-fat meal led to a significant elevation of plasma EMP levels in healthy, normolipidemic subjects and correlated with a postprandial elevation of serum triglycerides. EMPs may be an indirect marker of endothelial dysfunction or injury induced by postprandial triglyceride-rich lipoproteins.