Background: High serum levels of cholesterol, in particular low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, are considered a significant risk factor for development of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, rigorous treatment regimens with statins and other pharmaceuticals have been used extensively to reduce elevated cholesterol levels. Literature data have not clearly concluded whether long-chain omega-3 fatty acids reduce, increase or leave circulating cholesterol unaffected. In the present study a novel krill-oil derived preparation of omega-3 rich phospholipids, mainly phosphatidylcholine, was administered orally at increasing doses for 12 weeks to dyslipidemic non-human primates, and cholesterols and several other risk factors for cardiovascular disease were measured before, during and after treatment.
Methods: Six dyslipidemic non-human primates suffering from naturally occurring diabetes type-2 were included, three in a vehicle control group and three being treated with the omega-3 rich phospholipid preparation. The control and test items were given daily by gavage and the doses of the test item were 50, 150 and 450 mg phospholipids/kg/day. Each dose level was given for 4 weeks. Plasma concentrations of the omega-3 fatty acids were measured in connection with change in dose and the omega-3 index in erythrocytes was determined bi-weekly. Blood lipids, apolipoproteins and diabetes, inflammatory and safety biomarkers were determined either weekly, biweekly or every 4 weeks. For the blood lipids and apolipoproteins, control-adjusted mean values are presented while absolute values are presented for the other parameters. Due to the low number of animals in each group, no statistical analyses were done.
Results: The only detectable effects measured during dosing with the lowest dose were an increase in HDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1. The intermediate and high doses decreased total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, apolipoprotein B100 and triglycerides and increased HDL-cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1. No effects were seen on the diabetes and inflammatory markers and on safety biomarkers.
Conclusions: The results indicate that the omega-3 rich phospholipid preparation had a positive impact on cardiovascular disease risk factors by reducing total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and increasing HDL-cholesterol. These findings justify further investigations of this preparation in animal models of dyslipidemia and, provided the current findings are confirmed, in human trials.
Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Cholesterol; Choline; Omega-3 fatty acids; Phospholipids.