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      Metabolic and Vascular Effect of the Mediterranean Diet

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      International Journal of Molecular Sciences
      MDPI AG

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          Abstract

          Several studies indicated how dietary patterns that were obtained from nutritional cluster analysis can predict disease risk or mortality. Low-grade chronic inflammation represents a background pathogenetic mechanism linking metabolic risk factors to increased risk of chronic degenerative diseases. A Mediterranean diet (MeDi) style has been reported as associated with a lower degree of inflammation biomarkers and with a protective role on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events. There is heterogeneity in defining the MedDiet, and it can, owing to its complexity, be considered as an exposome with thousands of nutrients and phytochemicals. Recently, it has been reported a novel positive association between baseline plasma ceramide concentrations and cardiovascular events and how adherence to a Mediterranean Diet-style may influence the potential negative relationship between elevated plasma ceramide concentrations and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) showed the positive effects of the MeDi diet style on several cardiovascular risk factors, such as body mass index, waist circumference, blood lipids, blood pressure, inflammatory markers and adhesion molecules, and diabetes and how these advantages of the MeDi are maintained in comparison of a low-fat diet. Some studies reported a positive effect of adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and heart failure incidence, whereas some recent studies, such as the PREDIMED study, showed that the incidence of major cardiovascular events was lower among those assigned to MeDi supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts than among those assigned to a reduced-fat diet. New studies are needed to better understand the molecular mechanisms, whereby the MedDiet may exercise its effects. Here, we present recent advances in understanding the molecular basis of MedDiet effects, mainly focusing on cardiovascular diseases, but also discussing other related diseases. We review MedDiet composition and assessment as well as the latest advances in the genomic, epigenomic (DNA methylation, histone modifications, microRNAs, and other emerging regulators), transcriptomic (selected genes and whole transcriptome), and metabolomic and metagenomic aspects of the MedDiet effects (as a whole and for its most typical food components). We also present a review of the clinical effects of this dietary style underlying the biochemical and molecular effects of the Mediterranean diet. Our purpose is to review the main features of the Mediterranean diet in particular its benefits on human health, underling the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-atherosclerotic effects to which new knowledge about epigenetic and gut-microbiota relationship is recently added.

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          Most cited references166

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          An immunomodulatory molecule of symbiotic bacteria directs maturation of the host immune system.

          The mammalian gastrointestinal tract harbors a complex ecosystem consisting of countless bacteria in homeostasis with the host immune system. Shaped by evolution, this partnership has potential for symbiotic benefit. However, the identities of bacterial molecules mediating symbiosis remain undefined. Here we show that, during colonization of animals with the ubiquitous gut microorganism Bacteroides fragilis, a bacterial polysaccharide (PSA) directs the cellular and physical maturation of the developing immune system. Comparison with germ-free animals reveals that the immunomodulatory activities of PSA during B. fragilis colonization include correcting systemic T cell deficiencies and T(H)1/T(H)2 imbalances and directing lymphoid organogenesis. A PSA mutant of B. fragilis does not restore these immunologic functions. PSA presented by intestinal dendritic cells activates CD4+ T cells and elicits appropriate cytokine production. These findings provide a molecular basis for host-bacterial symbiosis and reveal the archetypal molecule of commensal bacteria that mediates development of the host immune system.
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            The obligatory role of endothelial cells in the relaxation of arterial smooth muscle by acetylcholine.

            Despite its very potent vasodilating action in vivo, acetylcholine (ACh) does not always produce relaxation of isolated preparations of blood vessels in vitro. For example, in the helical strip of the rabbit descending thoracic aorta, the only reported response to ACh has been graded contractions, occurring at concentrations above 0.1 muM and mediated by muscarinic receptors. Recently, we observed that in a ring preparation from the rabbit thoracic aorta, ACh produced marked relaxation at concentrations lower than those required to produce contraction (confirming an earlier report by Jelliffe). In investigating this apparent discrepancy, we discovered that the loss of relaxation of ACh in the case of the strip was the result of unintentional rubbing of its intimal surface against foreign surfaces during its preparation. If care was taken to avoid rubbing of the intimal surface during preparation, the tissue, whether ring, transverse strip or helical strip, always exhibited relaxation to ACh, and the possibility was considered that rubbing of the intimal surface had removed endothelial cells. We demonstrate here that relaxation of isolated preparations of rabbit thoracic aorta and other blood vessels by ACh requires the presence of endothelial cells, and that ACh, acting on muscarinic receptors of these cells, stimulates release of a substance(s) that causes relaxation of the vascular smooth muscle. We propose that this may be one of the principal mechanisms for ACh-induced vasodilation in vivo. Preliminary reports on some aspects of the work have been reported elsewhere.
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              Endothelium-derived relaxing factor produced and released from artery and vein is nitric oxide.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                IJMCFK
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                IJMS
                MDPI AG
                1422-0067
                October 2019
                September 23 2019
                : 20
                : 19
                : 4716
                Article
                10.3390/ijms20194716
                31547615
                17a82925-8d20-4a88-9770-e0fa09820880
                © 2019

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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