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Lack of effect of probucol on atheroma formation in cholesterol-fed rabbits kept at comparable plasma cholesterol levels

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      Abstract

      Rabbits were fed cholesterol for 14 weeks to study the effect of probucol on atheroma formation. Three groups of animals were investigated; group CHOL was fed 1% cholesterol and served as control for group P + CHOL, fed 1% cholesterol and 1% probucol from the onset till the end of the experiment; group CHOL + P received 1% cholesterol throughout the experiment and 1% probucol during the last 4 weeks only. Plasma cholesterol concentrations were monitored at frequent intervals and were modulated by dietary perturbations so that the areas under the curve expressing plasma cholesterol changes with time, were similar in probucol and non-treated rabbits. The efficacy of long-term probucol treatment was evidenced by a significant reduction in plasma apolipoprotein A-1 throughout the experiment and lower plasma TBARs during the first 6 weeks, when the hypocholesterolemic effect of probucol was also seen. Two weeks prior to the termination of the experiment, the rabbits were injected with rabbit plasma labeled with [3H]cholesteryl linoleyl ether ([3H]CLE). Aortic atheromatosis was quantified by determination of total and cholesteryl ester (CE). The aortic cholesterol content was related to the arch, thoracic and abdominal segments, to the surface area of each segment or its dry defatted weight. Total and esterified cholesterol were highest in the aortic arch in all 3 groups when related to any of the above mentioned parameters. No statistically significant difference in aortic total cholesterol and CE content was seen among the three groups studied. The [3H]CLE recovered in the aortic segment correlated with the CE content and the [3H]CLE (dpm)/mg CE in all segments was similar. No statistically significant difference in the [3H]CLE recovered in the aortic segments among the 3 groups was seen. We conclude that in cholesterol-fed rabbits, in which the plasma cholesterol levels were maintained at comparable levels, probucol treatment did not affect plasma CE influx into the aorta and did not attenuate development of aortic atherosclerosis.
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