Effect of dietary fish oil on coronary artery and aortic atherosclerosis in African green monkeys.
Studies were carried out for 2.5 to 3 years in adult male African green monkeys (grivet subspecies) fed diets containing 22% of calories as lard or fish oil with 40% of calories as fat and 0.75 mg cholesterol/Kcal to determine if isocaloric substitution of menhaden fish oil for lard affects coronary artery atherosclerosis. The average total plasma cholesterol concentrations during the experimental period were significantly lower for the fish-oil group (231 +/- 37 mg/dl) compared to the lard group (360 +/- 44 mg/dl), but this difference did not become apparent until after 5 months of experimental diet consumption. High density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations were 30% lower (p less than 0.01) for the fish-oil group also (57 +/- 5 vs. 82 +/- 6 mg/dl). Plasma triglyceride concentrations were low for both groups, but after about 5 months of diet consumption, they were higher for the animals fed fish oil (25 +/- 2 mg/dl) compared to their lard-fed counterparts (15 +/- 1 mg/dl). Coronary artery intimal area (in this case a measure of early atherosclerotic lesion size) was low in all animals but was significantly less (p less than 0.03) for the fish oil vs. lard groups (0.01 +/- 0.002 vs. 0.03 +/- 0.009 mm2). More atherosclerosis was found in other arteries, and a trend was seen of less atherosclerosis in the thoracic aorta and common carotid arteries of the fish-oil group. The size of lesions in the abdominal aorta was similar between diet groups, but microscopic examination of arteries of the lard group revealed relatively more cholesterol monohydrate crystals compared to the arteries of the fish-oil group. Chemical analysis showed that there was less esterified cholesterol (1.46 +/- 0.71 vs. 3.43 +/- 0.74 mg/g, p = 0.04) and free cholesterol (3.7 +/- 2.15 vs. 7.05 +/- 1.68 mg/g, p = 0.08) in the abdominal aortas taken from the animals fed fish oil. There was a significant correlation between low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesteryl ester (CE) fatty acid ratio (i.e., saturated + monounsaturated/polyunsaturated species) and the amount of esterified (r = 0.59) and free (r = 0.63) cholesterol in the abdominal aortas. Compared to the lard group, animals fed fish oil had significantly lower LDL CE melting temperatures (26 +/- 1 vs. 38 +/- 1 degree C) and significantly smaller LDL particles (2.68 +/- 0.10 vs. 3.25 +/- 0.38 g/mumol). Therefore, the potentially antiatherogenic effects of dietary fish oil include its ability to decrease the concentration, size, CE content, and CE melting temperature of plasma LDL.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association