Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated n-6 fatty acid-enriched diets modify LDL oxidation and decrease human coronary smooth muscle cell DNA synthesis

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 1997 Oct;17(10):2088-95. doi: 10.1161/01.atv.17.10.2088.


Proliferation of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) plays an important role in atherosclerotic lesion progression. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the effect of diets differing in fatty acid composition on human coronary SMC entry in the cell proliferation cycle. Twenty-four healthy men and women were placed on four consecutive diets lasting 5 weeks each: (1) saturated fatty acid (SFA)-rich diet with palm oil; (2) monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA)-rich diet with olive oil; (3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) n-6-rich diet with sunflower oil; and (4) PUFA n-3-rich diet (3.8 g/d). All diets supplied 35% of calories as fat. Compared with the SFA diet, all unsaturated diets reduced LDL cholesterol. Resistance of LDL to oxidative modification was significantly increased during the MUFA period (P < .05). Human coronary SMCs were cultured and induced by sera derived from the different groups. 3H-Thymidine incorporation into doubling DNA was significantly (P < .01) reduced during the MUFA and PUFA n-6 periods but not during the PUFA n-3 diet with respect to the SFA diet. This effect was more pronounced in women than in men. In conclusion, the MUFA-enriched diet reduced SMC DNA synthesis and LDL levels and protected LDL from oxidation. Therefore, these combined effects suggest that an oleic acid-rich Mediterranean diet could be better than PUFA (n-6)- or PUFA (n-3)-rich diets in the prevention of atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division
  • Coronary Vessels / drug effects*
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology
  • DNA / biosynthesis*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology
  • Platelet Aggregation / drug effects


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein
  • DNA