Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


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Nutrients 2014, 6, 2650-2667; doi:10.3390/nu6072650


Copyright © 2014, the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Open access, Creative Commons Attribution license 4.0.


Egg yolk contains bioactive components that improve plasma inflammatory markers and HDL profiles in metabolic syndrome (MetS) under carbohydrate restriction. We further sought to determine whether egg yolk intake affects peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) inflammation and cholesterol homeostasis in MetS, as HDL and its associated lipid transporter ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) reduce the inflammatory potential of leukocytes through modulation of cellular cholesterol content and distribution. Thirty-seven men and women classified with MetS consumed a moderate carbohydrate-restricted diet (25%–30% of energy) for 12 weeks, in addition to consuming either three whole eggs per day (EGG) or the equivalent amount of yolk-free egg substitute (SUB). Interestingly, lipopolysaccharide-induced PBMC IL-1β and TNFα secretion increased from baseline to week 12 in the SUB group only, despite increases in PBMC toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) mRNA expression in the EGG group. Compared to baseline, ABCA1 and 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl (HMG)-CoA reductase mRNA expression increased by week 12 in the EGG group only, whereas changes in PBMC total cholesterol positively correlated with changes in lipid raft content. Together, these findings suggest that intake of whole eggs during carbohydrate restriction alters PBMC inflammation and cholesterol homeostasis in MetS.