(HealthDay News) – For individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), exposure to a high-fat meal increases the circulating level of endotoxin.

Alison Harte, PhD, from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated the effect of a saturated fatty acid-rich meal on circulating endotoxin, and whether this effect was related to disease state. Following an overnight fast, 10 non-obese controls, 15 obese individuals, 12 individuals with IGT, and 21 individuals with T2DM, were given a high-fat meal. Endotoxin, inflammatory cytokines, and lipid levels were assessed in sera taken at baseline and one to four hours after eating.

The researchers found that, compared with non-obese controls, baseline circulating endotoxin was significantly increased in obese individuals and in those with IGT and T2DM. For participants with IGT and T2DM, there was a significant increase in endotoxin levels following the high-fat meal. At four hours post-prandial, the mean endotoxin level of individuals with T2DM was 118.5% higher than that found in non-obese controls. In the obese and non-obese cohorts, there was a strong positive correlation between increasing body mass index and log endotoxin.

“Our study shows for the first time that eating a high-fat meal is rapidly followed by an increase in blood endotoxins, which are bacterial fragments that can provoke inflammation,” Harte said in a statement. “Patients with type 2 diabetes show this response to a greatly enhanced degree, over twice that of controls.”

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