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Influence of dietary cholesterol and fat source on atherosclerosis in the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica)

journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-27, 15:36 authored by Yvonne YuanYvonne Yuan, David D. Kitts, David V. Godin

The Japanese quail has been used as a model of human atherosclerosis to investigate the mechanisms underlying the development of vascular lesions, i.e. hyperlipoproteinaemia and impaired endogenous antioxidant status. In the present study, Japanese quail were fed on semi-purified diets containing butter, beef tallow or soyabean-oil blends, with either 0.5 or 5 g cholesterol/kg for 9 weeks to examine the effects of dietary fat blends varying in fatty acid composition and cholesterol intake on plasma lipids and aortic atherosclerotic plaque and sterol composition. These findings were related to possible diet-induced changes in antioxidant status of selected tissues. Hypercholesterolaemia was confirmed (P < 0.001) in birds fed on high-cholesterol (HC) diets. Plasma total cholesterol concentration and cholesterol content of lipoprotein fractions in hypercholesterolaemic birds were lower (P < 0.05) in quail fed on the soyabean-oil blend. Plasma triacylglycerol content was increased (P < 0.001) in HC-fed birds. Dietary fat blends did not influence plasma triacylglycerol levels. Tissue antioxidant status (catalase (EC 1.11.1.6), glutathione peroxidase (EC 1.11.1.9), glutathione reductase (EC 1.6.4.1) and superoxide dismutase (EC 1.15.1.1) activities and glutathione content) was generally not greatly affected by dietary fat blend or cholesterol treatment. Birds fed on HC diets exhibited severe (P < 0.001) atherosclerotic plaque in aortas which was not influenced by the source of dietary fat blend. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed results of visual aortic plaque scoring using dissecting light microscopy. Several cholesterol oxides were identified and quantified in aortic plaque from HC-fed birds (5,6 alpha-epoxy-5 alpha-cholesterol, 7(beta-hydroxycholesterol and 7-ketocholesterol) regardless of dietary fat blend. The results indicate that dietary fat blends varying in polyunsaturated:saturated fatty acid ratios only marginally influence the degree of hypercholesterolaemia in atherosclerosis-susceptible quail fed on atherogenic diets only, and are not a factor, compared with sterol feeding, in modulating the degree of atherosclerosis or the aortic oxysterol content in these same birds. Moreover, diet-induced hyperlipoproteinaemia had only a small effect on antioxidant status of selected tissues examined.

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    Nutrition and Food

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