Effects of dietary Corinthian currants (Vitis vinifera L., var. Apyrena) on atherosclerosis and plasma phenolic compounds during prolonged hypercholesterolemia in New Zealand White rabbits

Food Funct. 2015 Mar;6(3):963-71. doi: 10.1039/c4fo01106f.


Corinthian currants are a rich source of phenolic compounds, which are known to exert beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease. The hypothesis tested is whether dietary supplementation with currants attenuates atherosclerosis and affects plasma phenolics during prolonged hypercholesterolemia in rabbits. Thirty New Zealand White rabbits were fed one of four diets (normal and supplemented with 10% currants, with 0.5% cholesterol, and with 0.5% cholesterol plus 10% currants) for eight weeks. Plasma lipids, glucose and hepatic enzymes were determined. Individual phenolic compounds were identified and quantified in plasma during the dietary intervention. At the end of the study, histological examinations of aorta and liver were performed. The high-cholesterol diet resulted in hypercholesterolemia and oxidative stress, increased aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activity and induced aortic and hepatic lesion formation. Corinthian currant supplementation attenuated atherosclerotic lesions, maintained AST within the normal range and reduced oxidative stress without affecting glucose concentrations. The p-OH-benzoic and p-OH-phenylacetic acids predominated at high concentrations in plasma and remained almost constant during the study in the group that received the normal rabbit chow and the groups given food with added cholesterol either alone or supplemented with currants. Currant supplementation to the normal diet resulted in the reduced absorption of phenolic compounds, as revealed by the measurement of their plasma metabolites, suggesting a regulatory mechanism at the gut level under normal conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / adverse effects
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Aorta / immunology
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit / growth & development
  • Functional Food / analysis
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Grape Seed Extract / adverse effects
  • Grape Seed Extract / therapeutic use*
  • Greece
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / immunology
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism
  • Hypercholesterolemia / physiopathology
  • Liver / immunology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Phenols / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Phenols / blood*
  • Phenols / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Random Allocation
  • Vitis / chemistry
  • Vitis / growth & development


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antioxidants
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Phenols