High density lipoproteins (HDL) have many cardioprotective roles; however, in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D) these cardioprotective properties are diminished. Conversely, increased fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake may reduce cardiovascular disease risk, although direct trial evidence of a mechanism by which this occurs in subjects with T2D is lacking. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine if increased F&V consumption influenced the carotenoid content and enzymes associated with the antioxidant properties of HDL in subjects with T2D.
Eighty obese subjects with T2D were randomised to a 1- or ≥6-portion/day F&V diet for 8-weeks. Fasting serum was collected pre- and post-intervention. HDL was subfractionated into HDL2 and HDL3 by rapid ultracentrifugation. Carotenoids were measured in serum, HDL2 and HDL3 by high performance liquid chromatography. The activity of paraoxonase-1 (PON-1) was measured in serum, HDL2 and HDL3 by a spectrophotometric assay, while the activity of lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) was measured in serum, HDL2 and HDL3 by a fluorometric assay.
In the ≥6- vs. 1-portion post-intervention comparisons, carotenoids increased in serum, HDL2 and particularly HDL3, (α-carotene, p = 0.008; β-cryptoxanthin, p = 0.042; lutein, p = 0.012; lycopene, p = 0.016), as did the activities of PON-1 and LCAT in HDL3 (p = 0.006 and 0.044, respectively).
To our knowledge, this is the first study in subjects with T2D to demonstrate that increased F&V intake augmented the carotenoid content and influenced enzymes associated with the antioxidant properties of HDL. We suggest that these changes would enhance the cardioprotective properties of this lipoprotein.