Posted on May 04, 2010, 6 a.m.
Spanish researchers identify 98 genes whose inflammatory activity is dampened by consumption of extra virgin olive oil.
Spanish researchers identify 98 genes whose inflammatory activity is dampened by consumption of olive oil, suggesting the underlying mechanism by which it exerts beneficial effects on chronic conditions from arthritis to heart disease. Francisco Perez-Jimenez, from University of Cordoba (Spain),and colleagues studied 20 patients with metabolic syndrome, who ate breakfast foods covered in two types of olive oil, either extra virgin olive oil (high in phenol compounds), or a low-phenol oil. Those subjects who ate the breakfast containing olive oil rich in phenolic compounds were found to have a reduced expression of pro-inflammatory genes associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as compared to those who ate the low-phenolic olive oil breakfast. Concluding that: “This study shows that intake of a breakfast based in virgin olive oil rich in phenol compounds is able to repress the in vivo expression of several pro-inflammatory genes, thereby switching the activity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to a less deleterious inflammatory profile,” the researchers submit that: “These results provide at least a partial molecular basis for the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease observed in Mediterranean countries, where virgin olive oil represents the main source of dietary fat.”
Antonio Camargo, Juan Ruano, Juan M Fernandez, Laurence D Parnell, Anabel Jimenez, Monica Santos-Gonzalez, Carmen Marin, Pablo Perez-Martinez, Marino Uceda, Jose Lopez-Miranda, Francisco Perez-Jimenez. “Gene expression changes in mononuclear cells from patients with metabolic syndrome after acute intake of phenol-rich virgin olive oil.” BMC Genomics 2010; 11:253doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-253.