The effects of olive oil and cholesterol enriched diets on aortic fatty streak development and lipid peroxidation in rabbits

Nutr Health. 2022 Sep;28(3):417-424. doi: 10.1177/02601060211022260. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Abstract

Background and aim: High plasma cholesterol levels, mainly low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL) is a widely recognized major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). According to epidemiologic studies' findings, people from the Mediterranean countries have lower CHD rates than other countries; in these countries the usual diet is high in olive oil. The present study compares the effects of a cholesterol-enriched diet with or without adding olive oil on serum lipoproteins, lipid peroxidation, and atherosclerosis development.

Methods: Twenty Dutch male rabbits were categorized into four groups (one group as control, and others as experimental). They received one of control (CON), olive oil-rich (OIL), cholesterol-rich (CHOL), and cholesterol + olive oil (COIL) diet for 12 weeks. Fasting blood samples from the heart were collected at the beginning and the end of the experimental period.

Results: Means of serum lipids were not significantly different at the beginning of the experimental period. After the intervention, significant differences were shown in total cholesterol (TC) (CON: 27.75 ± 4.83, OIL: 19.75 ± 2.62, CHOL: 1757.20 ± 149.62, COIL: 2906.40 ± 421.01; P < 0.001), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) (CON: 16 ± 1.47, OIL: 10.25 ± 1.70, CHOL: 22.2 ± 3.83, COIL: 28.60 ± 6.27; P = 0.04), triglyceride (CON: 65 ± 12.21, OIL: 71.75 ± 6.23, CHOL: 244.2 ± 44.45, COIL: 775.6 ± 105.07; P < 0.001), and MDA between groups (CON: 0.57 ± 0.10, OIL: 0.63 ± 0.15, CHOL: 5.62 ± 0.18, COIL: 2.06 ± 0.64; P < 0.001). The comparison of CHOL and the COIL groups showed a higher mean of malondialdehyde (MDA) in group CHOL (4.47 ± 0.28 vs 1.1 ± 0.6; P < 0.001). Aortic lesion was not observed in CON and OIL groups. Aortic lesion degree was significantly lower in the COIL group compared to the CHOL (2.4 ± 0.6 vs 3.66 ± 0.33; P = 0.02).

Conclusions: These findings showed the preventive effect of olive oil on atherosclerosis development. However, it is independent of the plasma lipoprotein effect, and olive oil probably acts on arteries directly.

Keywords: Cholesterol; atherosclerosis; fatty streak; olive oil.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis* / etiology
  • Atherosclerosis* / prevention & control
  • Cholesterol
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Male
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils* / pharmacology
  • Rabbits

Substances

  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Cholesterol