Early postprandial low-grade inflammation after high-fat meal in healthy rats: possible involvement of visceral adipose tissue

J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Jun;21(6):550-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2009.03.004. Epub 2009 Apr 9.


In the postprandial period, low-grade inflammation may contribute to vascular endothelial dysfunction, a hallmark of atherogenesis. Little is known about the involvement of the adipose tissue in the initiation of the postprandial inflammatory response such as obtained after a high-saturated fat meal (HFM). In the present study, we first studied the time course of appearance of systemic inflammation after a HFM in healthy rats, and then we investigated whether a HFM activates the inflammatory signaling in the visceral adipose tissue, with a focus on the key component, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB). Two hours after the HFM, plasma IL-6 and PAI-1, but not plasma C-reactive protein and soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1, showed a marked, transient increase. These changes were specific to the postprandial state as not observed after a control water load. Neutrophils count and activation markers CD11B and CD62L, assessed by flow cytometry, also rose significantly 2 h after the HFM, while remaining steady after the control. At the same time, the HFM decreased significantly B-cell count and expression of the activation marker CD62L. Interestingly, at the same early time after the HFM, in the visceral adipose tissue, there was a 2.2-fold increase in the activation of NF-kappaB (p65) in nuclear extract and an increase in IL-6 mRNA. As far as we know, this is the first study evidencing an acute, postprandial activation of inflammation in visceral adipose tissue. This early activation of NF-kappaB pathway after a HFM may play a triggering role in the initiation of the complex postprandial proatherogenic phenotype.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis
  • CD11b Antigen / biosynthesis
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Inflammation*
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • L-Selectin / biosynthesis
  • Male
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Postprandial Period
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred WKY


  • CD11b Antigen
  • Dietary Fats
  • Interleukin-6
  • NF-kappa B
  • L-Selectin