In vivo nutrigenomic effects of virgin olive oil polyphenols within the frame of the Mediterranean diet: a randomized controlled trial

FASEB J. 2010 Jul;24(7):2546-57. doi: 10.1096/fj.09-148452. Epub 2010 Feb 23.


The aim of the study was to assess whether benefits associated with the traditional Mediterranean diet (TMD) and virgin olive oil (VOO) consumption could be mediated through changes in the expression of atherosclerosis-related genes. A randomized, parallel, controlled clinical trial in healthy volunteers (n=90) aged 20 to 50 yr was performed. Three-month intervention groups were as follows: 1) TMD with VOO (TMD+VOO), 2) TMD with washed virgin olive oil (TMD+WOO), and 3) control with participants' habitual diet. WOO was similar to VOO, but with a lower polyphenol content (55 vs. 328 mg/kg, respectively). TMD consumption decreased plasma oxidative and inflammatory status and the gene expression related with both inflammation [INF-gamma (INFgamma), Rho GTPase-activating protein15 (ARHGAP15), and interleukin-7 receptor (IL7R)] and oxidative stress [adrenergic beta(2)-receptor (ADRB2) and polymerase (DNA-directed) kappa (POLK)] in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. All effects, with the exception of the decrease in POLK expression, were particularly observed when VOO, rich in polyphenols, was present in the TMD dietary pattern. Our results indicate a significant role of olive oil polyphenols in the down-regulation of proatherogenic genes in the context of a TMD. In addition, the benefits associated with a TMD and olive oil polyphenol consumption on cardiovascular risk can be mediated through nutrigenomic effects.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atherosclerosis / genetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Flavonoids / metabolism*
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrigenomics / methods*
  • Olive Oil
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phenols / metabolism*
  • Phenols / therapeutic use
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / metabolism*
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use
  • Polyphenols
  • Young Adult


  • Flavonoids
  • Olive Oil
  • Phenols
  • Plant Oils
  • Polyphenols