Effects of dexamethasone on experimental atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rabbits

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1992 Jun;38(3):255-64. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.38.255.


We studied the effects of a synthetic adrenocortical steroid, dexamethasone, on the development of experimental atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Daily intramuscular injection of dexamethasone (0.125 mg/day) remarkably inhibited the aortic atherosclerosis induced by feeding a 1% cholesterol-rich diet for 8 weeks, although it aggravated diet-induced hyperlipidemia. Histologically, less foam cell accumulation was observed in the atherosclerotic lesions of the dexamethasone-treated rabbits as compared with the control animals. When rabbits were fed a normal chow diet for 10 weeks after receiving the 1% cholesterol-rich diet for 8 weeks, no regression of atherosclerotic lesions was observed with the daily injection of dexamethasone (0.125 mg/day); however, the drug again tended to inhibit further progression of atherosclerosis. The anti-atherogenic mechanism of dexamethasone may involve an inhibition of recruitment of blood monocytes and the insudation of atherogenic lipoproteins, mainly beta-very low density lipoprotein (beta-VLDL) in the present experiments, into the aortic intima, or it may involve a change in the size and structure of the lipoproteins, resulting in their decreased passage through the aortic endothelium into the intima.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
  • Diet, Atherogenic*
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Rabbits


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Lipids
  • Dexamethasone