Inhibition of atherosclerosis by dietary pectin in microswine with sustained hypercholesterolemia.
Sustained hypercholesterolemia is a known risk factor for development of atherosclerosis. In animal studies, grapefruit pectin fed concurrently with a high-lipid diet inhibits hypercholesterolemia and atherogenesis. The purpose of the present study was to determine if grapefruit pectin affects cholesterol levels and atherogenesis of animals with established hypercholesterolemia. Microswine were fed an atherogenic diet to establish hypercholesterolemia. Plasma cholesterol levels rose rapidly and for 360 days were sustained at levels 6- to 12-fold the normal level. Then, half the microswine, selected at random, were fed a diet in which 3% grapefruit pectin was substituted for cellulose, and the remaining animals received the original diet. Animals were killed 270 days later, and the extent of atherosclerosis was determined. In animals with established hypercholesterolemia, pectin did not lower their cholesterol levels. However, pectin reduced the extent of atherosclerosis in both the aorta and coronary arteries. The mean surface area covered by atherosclerosis in the aorta was 13.6% in the group that did not receive pectin compared with 5.3% in the group that did receive pectin. The mean coronary artery narrowing was 45% without pectin and 24% with pectin. We conclude that pectin may have a direct beneficial effect on atherosclerosis by a mechanism independent of cholesterol levels.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association