Conjugated linoleic acid isomer effects in atherosclerosis: growth and regression of lesions

Lipids. 2004 Jul;39(7):611-6. doi: 10.1007/s11745-004-1273-8.


Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a mixture of positional and geometric isomers of octadecadienoic acid, has been shown to inhibit experimentally induced atherosclerosis in rabbits and also to cause significant regression of pre-established atheromatous lesions in rabbits. The two major CLA isomers (cis9,trans11 and trans10,cis12), now available at 90% purity, have been tested individually for their anti-atherogenic or lesion regression potency. The two major isomers and the mixture were fed for 90 d to rabbits fed 0.2% cholesterol. Atherosclerosis was inhibited significantly by all three preparations. The two CLA isomers and the isomer mix were also fed (1.0%) as part of a cholesterol-free diet for 90 d to rabbits bearing atheromatous lesions produced by feeding an atherogenic diet. A fourth group was maintained on a cholesterol-free diet. On the CLA-free diet atherosclerosis was exacerbated by 35%. Reduction of severity of atheromatous lesions was observed to the same extent in all three CLA-fed groups. The average reduction of severity in the three CLA-fed groups was 26 +/- 2% compared with the first control (atherogenic diet) and 46 +/- 1% compared with the regression diet. Insofar as individual effects on atherosclerosis were concerned, there was no difference between the CLA mix and the cis9,trans11 and trans10,cis12 isomers. They inhibit atherogenesis by 50% when fed as a component of a semipurified diet containing 0.2% cholesterol; and when fed as part of a cholesterol-free diet, they reduce established lesions by 26%. Reduction of atheromata to the observed extent by dietary means alone is noteworthy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteriosclerosis* / diet therapy
  • Arteriosclerosis* / metabolism
  • Arteriosclerosis* / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis* / prevention & control
  • Diet, Atherogenic
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / administration & dosage
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / chemistry*
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rabbits
  • Random Allocation
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated