Postprandial dietary lipid-specific effects on human peripheral blood mononuclear cell gene expression profiles

M. Bouwens, M.M. Grootte Bromhaar, H.J. Jansen, M.R. Müller, L.A. Afman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have a variety of beneficial effects, and immune cells play an important role in these effects. The mechanisms of action of PUFAs are still not completely understood, but it is known that PUFAs can influence the expression of a broad set of genes. Objective: The objective was to determine the postprandial effects of intake of different fatty acids on the gene expression profiles of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Design: In a single-blind crossover study, 21 healthy male volunteers consumed shakes enriched in PUFAs, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), or saturated fatty acids (SFAs) in random order. Blood samples were collected before and at several time points after intake. Whole-genome gene expression profiles of PBMCs were examined before and 6 h after intake of the PUFA and SFA shakes. In addition, ex vivo incubation of human PBMCs with different fatty acids was performed. Results: Whole-genome expression analysis showed distinct differences between PUFA and SFA consumption. PUFA intake decreased the expression of genes in liver X receptor signaling, whereas SFA intake increased the expression of these genes. PUFA intake also increased the expression of genes related to cellular stress responses. MUFA intake had an intermediate effect on several genes. Ex vivo experiments showed a direct effect of free fatty acids on PBMC gene expression. Conclusion: This study showed that PBMCs can reveal fatty acid-specific gene expression profiles in young healthy men after the consumption of different fatty acids, as evidenced by the opposite effects of PUFA and SFA intakes on the expression of genes involved in liver X receptor signaling. This trial was registered at as NCT01000194
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-217
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • polyunsaturated fatty-acids
  • activated receptor-alpha
  • nuclear receptors
  • binding
  • element
  • metabolism
  • suppress
  • inflammation
  • consumption


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