Suppression of atherogenesis in female low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice following magnesium fortification of drinking water: the importance of diet

Pathobiology. 2000 Mar-Apr;68(2):93-8. doi: 10.1159/000028119.


Objective: Magnesium (Mg) has previously been found to modulate blood lipid levels, atherogenesis and atherosclerosis in rabbits when used as a dietary supplement. In addition, we have reported that Mg fortification of drinking water can attenuate atherogenesis in male low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-receptor-deficient mice, but had a mild and nonsignificant effect on female mice fed a high-cholesterol diet supplemented with cholic acid. The aim of this study was to examine whether Mg has an antiatherogenic effect in female mice fed a high-cholesterol diet without cholic acid.

Methods: Two groups of female LDL-receptor-deficient mice were included. The mice received either distilled water or water with 50 g of Mg sulfate per liter. In the first (12 weeks) and second (6 weeks) stages of the experiment, the mice received low- and high-cholesterol diets, respectively, both without cholic acid. At the end of each stage of the experiment, blood was drawn for the determination of plasma Mg, calcium and lipid levels. In addition, the extent of atherosclerosis was determined at the aortic sinus level.

Results: Mg fortification was associated with higher levels of plasma Mg while the mice were on a high-cholesterol diet, and the extent of atherosclerosis at the aortic sinus was significantly decreased in the female mice that received high levels of Mg compared with the female mice that received distilled water. The female mice that received water fortified with Mg had lower levels of triglycerides after stage 2, whereas no differences regarding cholesterol levels were found.

Conclusion: These results confirm that Mg fortification of drinking water is capable of inhibiting atherogenesis also in female LDL-receptor-deficient mice fed a high-cholesterol diet, and demonstrate the importance of the nutritional composition of diet in this experimental model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Calcium / blood
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Magnesium / administration & dosage*
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Receptors, LDL / deficiency*
  • Sinus of Valsalva / pathology
  • Water Supply


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Lipids
  • Receptors, LDL
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium