The 3-Year Effect of the Mediterranean Diet Intervention on Inflammatory Biomarkers Related to Cardiovascular Disease

Biomedicines. 2021 Jul 22;9(8):862. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9080862.


The intervention with the Mediterranean diet (MD) pattern has evidenced short-term anti-inflammatory effects, but little is known about its long-term anti-inflammatory properties at molecular level. This study aims to investigate the 3-year effect of MD interventions compared to low-fat diet (LFD) on changes on inflammatory biomarkers related to atherosclerosis in a free-living population with a high-risk of cardiovascular disease (CD). Participants (n = 285) in the PREDIMED trial were randomly assigned into three intervention groups: MD with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) or MD-Nuts, and a LFD. Fourteen plasma inflammatory biomarkers were determined by Luminex assays. An additional pilot study of gene expression (GE) was determined by RT-PCR in 35 participants. After 3 years, both MDs showed a significant reduction in the plasma levels of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, IFN-γ, hs-CRP, MCP-1, MIP-1β, RANTES, and ENA78 (p < 0.05; all). The decreased levels of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α after MD significantly differed from those in the LFD (p < 0.05). No significant changes were observed at the gene level after MD interventions, however, the GE of CXCR2 and CXCR3 tended to increase in the control LFD group (p = 0.09). This study supports the implementation of MD as a healthy long-term dietary pattern in the prevention of CD in populations at high cardiovascular risk.

Keywords: cardiovascular diseases; dietary pattern; gene expression; inflammation; nutrition.