One-month administration of hydroxytyrosol, a phenolic antioxidant present in olive oil, to hyperlipemic rabbits improves blood lipid profile, antioxidant status and reduces atherosclerosis development

Atherosclerosis. 2006 Sep;188(1):35-42. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2005.10.022. Epub 2005 Nov 18.


The present study analysed the effects of hydroxytyrosol (HT) on blood lipids, antioxidant status and the progression of aortic lesions in hyperlipemic rabbits. Sixty-four rabbits were distributed into eight groups of animals (n = 8). Animal groups C, A and H were fed for 1-month with a control diet containing sunflower oil (C), an atherogenic diet (A) high in saturated fat and cholesterol or the A diet together with HT, respectively. The other five groups were fed for 2-months with diets C or A (groups CC or AA, respectively), or for 1-month with the A-diet followed by a further month with diet C, extra virgin olive oil diet (O) or diet C with HT (groups AC, AO and AH, respectively). Four milligram of HT/kg body weight were used in the study. Fifty and 42% decrease in total cholesterol and triacylglycerols, respectively, and a 2.3-fold increase in HDL-cholesterol were observed in the AH group but not in the H group. The HT-supplemented groups improved their antioxidant status and reduced the size of atherosclerotic lesions measured as intimal layer areas of the aortic arch when compared with control animals. We conclude that HT supplementation may have cardioprotective effects in vivo.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Aortic Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Aortic Diseases / etiology
  • Aortic Diseases / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis / diet therapy*
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Diet
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / complications
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Olive Oil
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / administration & dosage
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analysis
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Rabbits


  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol