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Effect of alfalfa meal on shrinkage (regression) of atherosclerotic plaques during cholesterol feeding in monkeys

  • M.R. Malinow
    Correspondence
    Address for correspondence: M.R. Malinow, M.D., Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, 505 N.W. 185th Avenue. Beaverton, Oregon 97005, U.S.A.
    Affiliations
    Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, Beaverton, Oregon 97005, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, U.S.A.
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  • P. McLaughlin
    Affiliations
    Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, Beaverton, Oregon 97005, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, U.S.A.
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  • H.K. Naito
    Affiliations
    Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, Beaverton, Oregon 97005, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, U.S.A.
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  • L.A. Lewis
    Affiliations
    Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, Beaverton, Oregon 97005, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, U.S.A.
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  • W.P. McNulty
    Affiliations
    Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, Beaverton, Oregon 97005, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, U.S.A.
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      Abstract

      A semipurified diet containing 1.2 mg of cholesterol/Cal was fed to cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis). At the end of 6 months, a group of 18 animals was killed for evaluation of atherosclerosis in the aorta and the coronary arteries. The remaining monkeys were assigned to three groups of 18 animals each and were fed, during the following 18 months, semipurified diets containing 0.34 mg of cholesterol/Cal with or without alfalfa meal, or a diet consisting entirely of Monkey Chow. A decrease in cholesterolemia and plasma phospholipid levels, normalization in the distribution of plasma lipoproteins, and reduction in the extent of aortic and coronary atherosclerosis were observed in monkeys fed the semipurified diet containing alfalfa, although the intake of cholesterol remained as high as in the usual American diet. These changes, also observed in monkeys fed a chow diet almost devoid of cholesterol, suggest that alfalfa counteracts the atherogenic effect of dietary cholesterol.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      IEL (internal elastic lamina), AMPS (acid mucopolysaccharides)
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