Up-to date knowledge on the in vivo transcriptomic effect of the Mediterranean diet in humans

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 May;57(5):772-83. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201200613. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


The present review discusses and summarizes the up-to-date body of knowledge concerning human nutrigenomic studies with Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) and olive oil (OO) interventions, at real-life doses and conditions. A literature review was carried out until March 2012. Original articles assessing the nutrigenomic effect of the MedDiet and its main source of fat, OO, on gene expression were selected. State-of-the-art data in this field, although scarce, are promising. Despite a great diversity among studies, the attributed health benefits of the MedDiet and its components, such as OO, could be explained by a transcriptomic effect on atherosclerosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress-related genes (i.e. ADRB2, IL7R, IFNγ, MCP1, TNFα). Gene expression changes toward a protective mode were often associated with an improvement in systemic markers for oxidation and inflammation. The suggested underlying molecular pathways responsible for these changes, and the extent to which evidence exists of a MedDiet and OO nutrigenomic effect, are also discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / genetics
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chemokine CCL2 / genetics
  • Chemokine CCL2 / metabolism
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Nutrigenomics
  • Olive Oil
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Polyphenols / administration & dosage
  • Polyphenols / analysis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / metabolism
  • Transcriptome*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • ADRB2 protein, human
  • Biomarkers
  • CCL2 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Polyphenols
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interferon-gamma