Aims: Postprandial lipaemia-induced endothelial dysfunction is felt to be mediated by increases in oxidative stress. In this review, we have examined the cross-sectional relationships found among these three variables. Methods: We found 20 studies conducted by 16 independent investigative teams through a Medline search from 1980 to 2008; studies were required to report correlations between at least two of the three variables of interest in studies of humans. This review is divided into (i) discussions on the biomarkers and other measures of postprandial lipaemia, oxidative stress and endothelial function; (ii) associations reported among the three variables; and (iii) other considerations including alternative intervention studies. Results: Triglycerides and free fatty acids are robust and well-standardised biomarkers of lipaemia. Measures of oxidative stress ranged from electron spin techniques to measures of lipid peroxidation and are limited by lack of standardisation. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation is the most commonly used measure of endothelial function. The associations between postprandial lipaemia and oxidative stress and between postprandial lipaemia and endothelial function are strong and consistent. However, the association between postprandial oxidative stress and endothelial function appears weak, at least using current approaches to measurement of oxidative stress. Discussion and Conclusions: These observations are consistent with the proposed concept that oxidative stress mediates the adverse effects of postprandial lipaemia on endothelial function; they are limited by the difficulties in measuring oxidative stress. Efforts directed at optimising and standardising the measurement of oxidative stress will be of value in future works in this area.
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