Postprandial inflammation: Targeting glucose and lipids
Many risk factors have been identified as being responsible for the process of atherogenesis. Several of these risk factors are related to inflammation, which is an obligatory feature of the atherosclerotic plaque. Increasing evidence suggests that postprandial lipoproteins and glucose may be involved in the inflammatory process preceding the development of atherosclerosis. During the postprandial situation, remnants of chylomicrons and very low-density lipoproteins bind to circulating leukocytes and endothelial cells, leading to a state of acute activation with the expression of integrins on different cells, the generation of oxidative stress, production of cytokines and complement activation. Elevated plasma glucose levels may also induce leukocyte activation in humans. In addition, advanced glycation end products, formed during hyperglycemia, cause inflammation and endothelial damage. This chain of events results in a situation of acute inflammation causing endothelial dysfunction, which may be one of the earliest defects in atherogenesis. Interestingly, while this may occur several times each day after each meal, there is only limited information on the contribution of different nutrients on the postprandial inflammatory processes. In this review, we will focus on the available evidence and we will discuss the role of lifestyle and pharmaceutical interventions in modulating postprandial inflammation.