Context: Postprandial hyperlipidemia has been suggested to contribute to atherogenesis by inducing proinflammatory changes in monocytes. Individuals with metabolic syndrome (MS), shown to have higher blood triglyceride concentration and delayed triglyceride clearance, may thus have increased risk for development of atherosclerosis.
Objective: Our objective was to examine fasting levels and effects of a high-fat meal on phenotypes of monocyte subsets in individuals with obesity and MS and in healthy controls. Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention: Individuals with obesity and MS and gender- and age-matched healthy controls were recruited. Blood was collected from participants after an overnight fast (baseline) and at 3 and 5 hours after ingestion of a high-fat meal. At each time point, monocyte phenotypes were examined by multiparameter flow cytometry.
Main outcome measures: Baseline levels of activation markers and postprandial inflammatory response in each of the three monocyte subsets were measured.
Results: At baseline, individuals with obesity and MS had higher proportions of circulating lipid-laden foamy monocytes than controls, which were positively correlated with fasting triglyceride levels. Additionally, the MS group had increased counts of nonclassical monocytes, higher CD11c, CX3CR1, and human leukocyte antigen-DR levels on intermediate monocytes, and higher CCR5 and tumor necrosis factor-α levels on classical monocytes in the circulation. Postprandial triglyceride increases in both groups were paralleled by upregulation of lipid-laden foamy monocytes. MS, but not control, subjects had significant postprandial increases of CD11c and percentages of IL-1β+ and tumor necrosis factor-α+ cells in nonclassical monocytes.
Conclusions: Compared to controls, individuals with obesity and MS had increased fasting and postprandial monocyte lipid accumulation and activation.