October 2011

Cells on fire: trans fats and the human body

 

Levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), an inflammatory marker, increased in the IP-TFA group, whereas the levels decreased in the group that received no IP-TPA. However, there were no significant differences between the two groups when other markers in the blood, such as serum C-reactive protein (CRP), adiponectin and interleukin 6 (IL-6), and serum sE-selectin, a biomarker for endothelial dysfunction, were examined. Analysis of the urine samples indicated that the difference between the two groups in the amount of 8-iso-prostaglandin-F (PGF), a marker for oxidative stress, also was not significant. When examining the biopsy samples, the researchers noticed that in the IP-TPA participants, there was a two-fold increase in the content of specific trans fat isomers present in adipose tissue (where fat is stored in the body) that was not observed in control participants’ samples.

The study’s results support previous research that the link between dietary IP-TFA and cardiovascular disease most likely involves activation of the TNFα system in the body. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, the primary source of IP-TFA, might seem harmless on the surface, but it looks like the powers that be in Denmark who decided to ban trans fats are definitely on to something.

Mary L. Chang (mchang@asbmb.org) is managing editor of the Journal of Lipid Research and coordinating journal manager of Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

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