Supplementation with vitamin E and/or zinc does not attenuate atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet

Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2001 Jan;71(1):45-52. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831.71.1.45.


Ever since oxidation has been known to be involved in atherogenesis, antioxidants have received considerable attention as potential antiatherogenic agents. The lipid-soluble vitamin E is the main antioxidant carried by lipoproteins. Zinc is a water-soluble trace element that acts as a cofactor of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and has an antioxidant role in several oxidative processes. To test the hypothesis that zinc could adjuvate the antioxidant activity of vitamin E and diminish atherogenesis, we explored how supplementing diet with vitamin E and/or zinc would affect an atherosclerosis-prone animal like Apo E-deficient mice. The increased plasma concentrations of both vitamin E and zinc showed that absorption was high. They had a significant hypolipidemic effect and the supplemented animals had 25% less plasma cholesterol and triglyceride than controls. The SOD activity was significantly higher in washed erythrocytes from mice supplemented with zinc. The plasma of supplemented animals was also significantly more resistant to oxidation. The size of lesions in the proximal aortic region did not differ among groups. Therefore, dietary supplementation resulted in the expected antioxidant effects but there was no substantial attenuation of atherosclerosis in this particular model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / deficiency*
  • Arteriosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Interactions
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / metabolism
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Lipids / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Random Allocation
  • Vitamin E / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*
  • Zinc / metabolism
  • Zinc / therapeutic use*


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Dietary Fats
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Lipids
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc