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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013, Article ID 137579, 13 pages
Review Article

Lipotoxicity: Effects of Dietary Saturated and Transfatty Acids

1Programa de Pós-Graduação em Nutrição, Disciplina de Fisiologia da Nutrição, EPM, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), Rua Botucatu, 862 Edifício de Ciências Biomédicas, 2 andar, Vila Clementino, 04023-060 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Departamento de Biociências, UNIFESP, Campus Baixada Santista, 11060-001 Santos, SP, Brazil

Received 25 October 2012; Revised 19 December 2012; Accepted 19 December 2012

Academic Editor: Fábio Santos Lira

Copyright © 2013 Débora Estadella et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The ingestion of excessive amounts of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and transfatty acids (TFAs) is considered to be a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and obesity. The focus of this paper was to elucidate the influence of dietary SFA and TFA intake on the promotion of lipotoxicity to the liver and cardiovascular, endothelial, and gut microbiota systems, as well as on insulin resistance and endoplasmic reticulum stress. The saturated and transfatty acids favor a proinflammatory state leading to insulin resistance. These fatty acids can be involved in several inflammatory pathways, contributing to disease progression in chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, allergy, cancer, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and heart hypertrophy as well as other metabolic and degenerative diseases. As a consequence, lipotoxicity may occur in several target organs by direct effects, represented by inflammation pathways, and through indirect effects, including an important alteration in the gut microbiota associated with endotoxemia. Interactions between these pathways may perpetuate a feedback process that exacerbates an inflammatory state. The importance of lifestyle modification, including an improved diet, is recommended as a strategy for treatment of these diseases.