Silver fir (Abies alba) trunk extract protects guinea pig arteries from impaired functional responses and morphology due to an atherogenic diet

Phytomedicine. 2015 Aug 15;22(9):856-61. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2015.06.004. Epub 2015 Jun 25.


Background: Diet, rich in plant polyphenols prevents atherogenesis that manifests as reduced vascular relaxation and formation of plaques.

Hypothesis: Atherosclerosis could be reduced by the intake of silver fir (Abies alba) extract (SFTE), rich in polyphenols.

Study design: Chronic, in vivo treatment animal study.

Methods: Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) were fed for 8 weeks with one of the following three diets: atherogenic, basic or atherogenic + SFTE. After isolation, we measured the relaxation and contractile responses of the thoracic aorta. Additionally, we measured the area of fatty plaques on the aortic walls.

Results: Compared to the basic diet, the atherogenic diet decreased the ability of the aorta to relax by 63% (p < 0.001). The addition of SFTE to the atherogenic diet improved the aorta relaxation response compared to that of the atherogenic diet without SFTE (the decrease relative to the basic diet was 26%, p < 0.001). The aorta contractility did not differ between the groups. The SFTE group generated significantly fewer atherosclerotic plaques than did the atherogenic group. The areas of atherosclerotic plaques were 7.4, 0.3 and 1.6% in the aortas of guinea pigs receiving atherogenic, basic or atherogenic + SFTE diets, respectively.

Conclusions: In a guinea pig model, prolonged treatment with antioxidative polyphenol-rich SFTE prevents aortic functional and morphological changes caused by an atherogenic diet.

Keywords: Abies alba extract; Aorta relaxation; Atherogenic diet; Cardiovascular disease; Polyphenols.

MeSH terms

  • Abies / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Aorta, Thoracic / drug effects
  • Arteries / drug effects*
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Atherogenic / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Free Radical Scavengers / chemistry
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Stems / chemistry
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / prevention & control


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Plant Extracts