Inulin attenuates atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice

Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96(5):840-4. doi: 10.1017/bjn20061913.


Effects of different inulin-type fructan fractions were studied on atherosclerotic plaque formation in male apo E-deficient mice. Thirty-two mice were randomly divided into four groups and received either a semi-purified sucrose-based diet (control group), or diets in which sucrose was replaced in part by various inulin-type fructans (10 g/100 g): long-chain inulin, oligofructose, or an oligofructose-enriched inulin for 16 weeks. The presence of atherosclerotic plaques was assessed by histomorphometry in the aortic sinus. The apo E-deficient mice fed long-chain inulin or an oligofructose-enriched inulin had about 35 % and 25 % less atherosclerotic lesion area compared with the control group, respectively. Feeding long-chain inulin significantly reduced plasma cholesterol concentrations (P<0.001), and the three inulin-type fructans reduced triacylglycerol (TAG) concentrations compared with the control group (P<0.001). Both the long-chain inulin and an oligofructose-enriched inulin significantly lowered hepatic cholesterol concentrations compared with the control diet (P<0.05). Hepatic TAG concentrations were significantly lower in all three groups fed the fructan-supplemented diets v. the control group (P<0.0001). The results of the present study suggest that inhibition of atherosclerotic plaque formation is more potent in the presence of long-chain inulin, either alone or in combination with oligofructose (an oligofructose-enriched inulin), and that this probably is related to changes in lipid metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / deficiency*
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Inulin / administration & dosage*
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Oligosaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Sinus of Valsalva / pathology
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Triglycerides
  • oligofructose
  • Inulin
  • Cholesterol