Amelioration of oxidative and inflammatory status in hearts of cholesterol-fed rats supplemented with oils or oil-products with extra virgin olive oil components

Eur J Nutr. 2016 Apr;55(3):1283-96. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-0947-5. Epub 2015 Jun 10.


Purpose: The contribution of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) macro- and micro-constituents in heart oxidative and inflammatory status in a hypercholesterolemic rat model was evaluated. Fatty acid profile as well as α-tocopherol, sterol, and squalene content was identified directly in rat hearts to distinguish the effect of individual components or to enlighten the potential synergisms.

Methods: Oils and oil-products with discernible lipid and polar phenolic content were used. Wistar rats were fed a high-cholesterol diet solely, or supplemented with one of the following oils, i.e., EVOO, sunflower oil (SO), and high-oleic sunflower oil (HOSO) or oil-products, i.e., phenolics-deprived EVOO [EVOO(-)], SO enriched with the EVOO phenolics [SO(+)], and HOSO enriched with the EVOO phenolics [HOSO(+)]. Dietary treatment lasted 9 weeks; at the end of the intervention blood and heart samples were collected.

Results: High-cholesterol-diet-induced dyslipidemia was shown by increase in serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triacylglycerols. Dyslipidemia resulted in increased malondialdehyde (MDA) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels, while glutathione and interleukin 6 levels remained unaffected in all intervention groups. Augmentation observed in MDA and TNF-α was attenuated in EVOO, SO(+), and HOSO(+) groups. Heart squalene and cholesterol content remained unaffected among all groups studied. Heart α-tocopherol was determined by oil α-tocopherol content. Variations were observed for heart β-sitosterol, while heterogeneity was reported with respect to heart fatty acid profile in all intervention groups.

Conclusions: Overall, we suggest that the EVOO-polar phenolic compounds decreased MDA and TNF-α in hearts of cholesterol-fed rats.

Keywords: Extra virgin olive oil; Hypercholesterolemia; Inflammatory markers; Oxidation; Polar phenols; Rat heart.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diet
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dyslipidemias / diet therapy
  • Dyslipidemias / etiology
  • Fatty Acids / blood
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood*
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Olive Oil / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sitosterols / blood
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • alpha-Tocopherol / blood


  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Fatty Acids
  • Interleukin-6
  • Olive Oil
  • Phenols
  • Plant Oils
  • Sitosterols
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Triglycerides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Malondialdehyde
  • gamma-sitosterol
  • Glutathione
  • alpha-Tocopherol