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Review
. 2014;77:189-98.
doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-7920-4_16.

Suppressive Effects of Cacao Polyphenols on the Development of Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein E-deficient Mice

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Review

Suppressive Effects of Cacao Polyphenols on the Development of Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein E-deficient Mice

Midori Natsume et al. Subcell Biochem. .

Abstract

Previous studies in humans have shown that the cacao polyphenols, (-)-epicatechin and its oligomers, prevent in vitro and ex vivo low-density lipoprotein oxidation mediated by free radical generators and metal ions and also reduce plasma LDL-cholesterol levels. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of cacao polyphenols on the development of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (-/-) mice. Mice aged 8 weeks (n = 90) were randomized into three groups, and fed either normal mouse chow (controls) or chow supplemented with 0.25 or 0.40 % cacao polyphenols for 16 weeks. The mean plaque area in cross-sections of the brachiocephalic trunk was measured and found to be lower in the 0.25 % cacao polyphenol group than in the control group (p < 0.05). Pathological observations showed that accumulation of cholesterol crystals in the plaque area was greater in the control group compared with the 0.40 % cacao polyphenol group (p < 0.05). Immunochemical staining in the 0.25 and 0.40 % groups showed that expression of the cell adhesion molecules (VCAM-1 and ICAM-1) and production of oxidative stress markers (4-hydroxynonenal, hexanoyl-lysine, and dityrosine) were reduced in cross-sections of the brachiocephalic trunk. These results suggest that cacao polyphenols inhibit the development of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (-/-) mice by reducing oxidative stress and inflammatory responses.

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