The present study aimed to examine the effect of pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) seeds supplementation on atherogenic diet-induced atherosclerosis. Rat were divided into two main groups , normal control and atherogenic control rats , each group composed of three subgroups one of them supplemented with 2% arginine in drinking water and the other supplemented with pumpkin seeds in diet at a concentration equivalent to 2% arginine. Supplementation continued for 37 days. Atherogenic rats supplemented with pumpkin seeds showed a significant decrease (p<0.001) in their serum concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL - C as they dropped from 4.89 mmol / L to 2.55 mmol /L and from 3.33 mmol / L to 0.70 mmol / L respectively. Serum concentrations of HDL-C were also significantly elevated in the same group. Although, atherogenic rats supplemented with 2% arginine showed significant increase in serum concentration of HDL-C, no significant changes were observed in their serum concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL-C. Our results showed that treatment of atherogenic rats with pumpkin seeds significantly decreased serum concentrations of TC and LDL-C. Our findings suggest that pumpkin seeds supplementation has a protective effect against atherogenic rats and this protective effect was not attributed to the high arginine concentrations in pumpkin seeds.
Keywords: C-reactive protein; arginine; atherosclerosis; cholesterol; low density lipoprotein; nitric oxide.