Dietary corn fractions reduce atherogenesis in low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice

Nutr Res. 2017 Jan;37:87-96. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.12.005. Epub 2016 Dec 21.


Accumulating evidence has suggested that intake of whole grains is a protective factor against pathogenesis of coronary artery disease. The exact mechanisms, however, are still not clearly understood. In this study, we hypothesized that adequate intake of corn fractions (aleurone, endosperm and germ) can modify lipid profiles in relation to atherosclerotic lesion development in low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout (LDLr-KO) mice. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the potential cardiovascular benefits of corn fractions in LDLr-KO mice through a number of biomarkers including lipid profile, and morphologic and morphometrical analysis of atherosclerotic lesions in aortic root. Four groups of male LDLr-KO mice were fed with the experimental diets supplemented with (3 treated) or without (control) 5% (wt/wt) of each of corn fractions for 10 weeks. All diets were supplemented with 0.06% (wt/wt) cholesterol. Compared with mice in the control group, atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic roots were significantly reduced (P=.003) in the mice that were fed diet supplemented with aleurone and germ fractions. This effect was associated with significant reductions in plasma total (P=.02) and LDL (P=.03) cholesterol levels, and an increase in fecal cholesterol excretion (P=.04). Furthermore, abdominal fat mass was significantly reduced by consumption of aleurone (P=.03). In summary, the consumption of aleurone and germ may help attenuate atherosclerosis by reducing plasma total and LDL cholesterol levels.

Keywords: Atherosclerotic lesions; Corn fractions; LDL-receptor knockout mice; Lipid profile.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Aorta / drug effects
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis / blood
  • Atherosclerosis / diet therapy*
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Edible Grain*
  • Endosperm
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Proteins
  • Plant Structures
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic / prevention & control
  • Receptors, LDL / blood*
  • Zea mays*


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Plant Preparations
  • Plant Proteins
  • Receptors, LDL
  • aleurone