Effects of a healthy Nordic diet on gene expression changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in response to an oral glucose tolerance test in subjects with metabolic syndrome: A SYSDIET sub-study

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Background: Diet has a great impact on the risk of developing features of metabolic syndrome (MetS), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). We evaluated whether a long-term healthy Nordic diet (ND) can modify the expression of inflammation and lipid metabolism-related genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) during a 2-h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in individuals with MetS. Methods: A Nordic multicenter randomized dietary study included subjects (n = 213) with MetS, randomized to a ND group or a control diet (CD) group applying an isocaloric study protocol. In this sub-study, we included subjects (n = 89) from three Nordic centers: Kuopio (n =26), Lund (n = 30), and Oulu (n = 33) with a maximum weight change of ±4 kg, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein concentration ≤10 mg L-1, and baseline body mass index -2. PBMCs were isolated, and the mRNA gene expression analysis was measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). We analyzed the mRNA expression changes of 44 genes before and after a 2hOGTT at the beginning and the end of the intervention. Results: The healthy ND significantly down-regulated the expression of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), interleukin 18 (IL18), and thrombospondin receptor (CD36) mRNA transcripts and significantly up-regulated the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPARD) mRNA transcript after the 2hOGTT compared to the CD. Conclusions: A healthy ND is able to modify the gene expression in PBMCs after a 2hOGTT. However, more studies are needed to clarify the biological and clinical relevance of these findings.


  • Lena Leder
  • Marjukka Kolehmainen
  • Ingunn Narverud
  • Ingrid Dahlman
  • Mari C W Myhrstad
  • Vanessa D. De Mello
  • Jussi Paananen
  • Carsten Carlberg
  • Ursula Schwab
  • Karl Heinz Herzig
  • Matilda Ulmius
  • Janne Hukkanen
  • Markku J. Savolainen
  • Fredrik Rosqvist
  • Kjeld Hermansen
  • Lars O. Dragsted
  • Gunnarsdottir Ingibjörg Gunnarsdottir
  • Inga Thorsdottir
  • Ulf Risérus
  • Magne Thoresen
  • Peter Arner
  • Kaisa S. Poutanen
  • Matti Uusitupa
  • Kirsten B. Holven
  • Stine M. Ulven
External organisations
  • University of Oslo
  • University of Eastern Finland
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • Oslo and Akershus University College
  • Kuopio University Hospital
  • Poznan University of Medical Sciences
  • Oulu University Hospital
  • Uppsala University
  • Aarhus University Hospital
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University of Iceland
  • Oslo university hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Metabolic syndrome, mRNA gene expression, Nordic diet, OGTT, PBMCs
Original languageEnglish
JournalGenes & Nutrition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 17
Publication categoryResearch