Antioxidant enzymes in hypercholesterolemia and effects of vitamin E in rabbits

  • Subrahmanyam V. Mantha
    Departments of Physiology and Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan and Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N OWO Canada
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  • Marion Prasad
    Departments of Physiology and Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan and Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N OWO Canada
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  • Jawahar Kalra
    Departments of Physiology and Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan and Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N OWO Canada
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  • Kailash Prasad
    Correspondence to: K. Prasad, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P.(C), F.A.C.C., Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N OWO. Tel.: (306) 966-6539; Fax: (306) 966-8718.
    Departments of Physiology and Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan and Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N OWO Canada
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      We investigated the effects of high cholesterol diet in the absence and presence of vitamin E on the activity of antioxidant enzymes [superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px)] in rabbits. The animals were divided into 4 groups each comprising of 10 rabbits. Group I, regular rabbit chow diet; Group II, regular rabbit chow diet with added vitamin E; Group III, high cholesterol diet; and Group IV, high cholesterol diet + vitamin E. Antioxidant enzymes of blood were measured in each group before and after 1, 2, 3, and 4 months on the experimental diets. The aorta was removed at the end of the protocol for measurement of antioxidant enzymes. There was a decrease in activity of SOD and GSH-Px and an increase in activity of catalase in blood of Group III. Vitamin E produced a decrease in blood SOD, catalase and GSH-Px activity in Group II and prevented the decrease in SOD and GSH-Px activity in Group IV but did not affect the changes in the catalase activity. SOD, catalase and GSH-Px activity of aortae from Group III increased significantly, while catalase activity increased and GSH-Px activity decreased in those from Group II. Vitamin E prevented the cholesterol-induced rise in catalase and GSH-Px activity in aorta but did not prevent the rise in SOD activity. These results suggest that the activity of antioxidant enzymes in blood is affected differently from that in aortic tissue. There appears to be a mutually supportive interaction among the antioxidant enzymes which provide defense against oxidant injury. The protective effects of vitamin E against hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis may not be due to changes in the antioxidant enzymes but may be mainly mediated through its chain-breaking antioxidant activity.


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