Consumption of a high-fat meal was associated with an increase in monocyte adhesion molecules, scavenger receptors, and Propensity to Form Foam Cells

Cytometry B Clin Cytom. 2018 Jul;94(4):606-612. doi: 10.1002/cyto.b.21478. Epub 2016 Sep 17.


Background: Macrophage-derived foam cells are the predominant component of arterial plaques in the early stages of atherosclerosis. One factor that poses a major risk for plaque development is high levels of plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) as a result of a high-fat meal. In order to better understand how an individuals' diet affects arterial plaque deposition via the process of foam cell formation, we measured the acute circulating monocyte activity response after consuming a high-fat meal (85% of daily fat allowance).

Materials and methods: Venous blood samples from 17 participants were acquired on a FlowSight. Samples were analyzed to identify nonclassical (CD14+/16+) and classical (CD14+/16-) monocytes. We measured monocyte concentration, adhesion molecule expression, CD36 expression, and oxidized LDL (oxLDL) endocytosis for preprandial 1, 3, and 5 h postprandial.

Results: Consuming a high-fat meal caused increases in oxLDL uptake, adhesion molecule expression, and CD36 expression in both classical and nonclassical monocytes, with the nonclassical monocytes responding with larger increases than the classical monocytes.

Conclusion: These results suggest that consumption of a high-fat meal increased the potential of monocytes to become foam cells, and implicates nonclassical monocytes as having greater potential than classical monocytes to become foam cells. © 2016 International Clinical Cytometry Society.

Keywords: atherosclerosis; flow cytometry; foam cell; inflammation; lipids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • CD36 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Foam Cells* / cytology
  • Foam Cells* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Male
  • Monocytes* / cytology
  • Monocytes* / metabolism
  • Receptors, Scavenger / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • CD36 Antigens
  • CD36 protein, human
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Receptors, Scavenger
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein