Our aim was to examine whether an acute fat load could induce changes in the expression of insulin sensitivity-related genes in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Selection of candidate genes was based on previous studies with sustained virgin olive oil (VOO) consumption and biological plausibility in relation to insulin sensitivity. Eleven healthy volunteers ingested raw VOO (50 mL). Blood samples were collected at 0, 1 and 6 h. Plasma glucose,
insulin and hydroxytyrosol increased at 1 h and decreased at 6 h. Lipid oxidative damage increased at 6 h (p < 0.05). Gene expression changes were characterized based on quantification of the samples relative to a reference sample [i.e., relative quantification (RQ) method]. A 1 h downregulation was observed in O-linked-N-acetylglucosamine transferase (OGT, RQ: 0.62 +/- 0.32) and arachidonate-5-lipoxygenase-activating protein (ALOX5AP, RQ: 0.64 +/- 0.31) genes (p < 0.005). OGT was upregulated at 6 h (RQ: 1.88 +/- 0.28, p < 0.05). CD36 (thrombospondin receptor) was upregulated at 1 h (RQ: 1.6 +/- 0.8, p < 0.05) returning to the basal values at 6 h. Lipoic acid synthetase (LIAS), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor binding protein (PPARBP), a disintegrin and metallopeptidase domain 17 (ADAM17), and adrenergic beta-2-receptor (ADRB2) genes were upregulated at 6 h (range for the mean RQ: 1.33-1.56) following an increasing linear trend (p < 0.05) from baseline to 6 h. ALOX5AP and OGT genes inversely correlated with insulin and glucose levels at 1 h. ADAM17 and ADRB2 inversely correlated with oxLDL at 6 h (p < 0.05). Taken together, these observations may inform the future clinical nutrigenomics study designs and indicate that a single dose of VOO can elicit quantifiable and rapid changes in gene expression in targets that are mechanistically relevant for insulin sensitivity and the metabolic syndrome.
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