Effects of short-term high-fat, high-energy diet on hepatic and myocardial triglyceride content in healthy men

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jul;93(7):2702-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2007-2524. Epub 2008 Apr 22.


Context: An association has been suggested between elevated plasma nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) levels, myocardial triglyceride (TG) accumulation, and myocardial function.

Objective: Our objective was to investigate the effects of an elevation of plasma NEFA by a high-fat, high-energy (HFHE) diet on hepatic and myocardial TG accumulation, and on myocardial function.

Design: There were 15 healthy males (mean +/- sd age: 25.0 +/- 6.6 yr) subjected to a 3-d HFHE diet consisting of their regular diet, supplemented with 800 ml cream (280 g fat) every day.

Methods: (1)H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy was performed for assessing hepatic and myocardial TGs. Furthermore, left ventricular function was assessed using magnetic resonance imaging.

Results: The HFHE diet increased hepatic TGs compared with baseline (from 2.01 +/- 1.79 to 4.26 +/- 2.78%; P = 0.001) in parallel to plasma TGs and NEFA. Myocardial TGs did not change (0.38 +/- 0.18 vs. 0.40 +/- 0.12%; P = 0.7). The HFHE diet did not change myocardial systolic function. Diastolic function, assessed by dividing the maximum flow across the mitral valve of the early diastolic filling phase by the maximum flow of the atrial contraction (E/A ratio), decreased compared with baseline (from 2.11 +/- 0.39 to 1.89 +/- 0.33; P = 0.031). This difference was no longer significant after adjustment for heart rate (P = 0.12).

Conclusions: Short-term HFHE diet in healthy males results in major increases in plasma TG and NEFA concentrations and hepatic TGs, whereas it does not influence myocardial TGs or myocardial function. These observations indicate differential, tissue-specific partitioning of TGs and/or fatty acids among nonadipose organs during HFHE diet.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides / analysis
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*
  • Ventricular Function, Left


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Triglycerides