Soy proteins reduce progression of a focal lesion and lipoprotein oxidiability in rabbits fed a cholesterol-rich diet


      The effects of different dietary proteins on the progression of a focal atheromatous lesion and on lipoprotein oxidiability were studied in male New Zealand rabbits. Focal lesions were induced on common carotid arteries by applying an electric current, using a bipolar microcoagulator. After surgery, animals were fed for 90 days two different diets, both with 1% cholesterol, 15% saturated fatty acids and 20% protein: the protein source was constituted in one group (SOY) by 16% soy protein isolate plus 4% milk whey proteins, in the other (CASEIN) by 16% casein plus 4% milk whey proteins. Lower levels of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides (−47 and −65%, respectively) (P<0.05) were detected in the SOY versus the CASEIN group at the end of treatment. Cryosection analyses of the carotids, indicated a highly significant reduction (−39%; P<0.05) in the focal lesion progression in the SOY versus the CASEIN group. Copper-mediated oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from rabbits fed the two different diets, performed in vitro by analysis of conjugated diene formation, showed a significantly longer lag phase in the SOY (150±5 min) versus the CASEIN animals (20±3 min) (P<0.05). These data, while confirming the well-known lipid lowering properties of soy proteins, indicate, in this animal model, a remarkable activity on a focal atheromatous lesion, possibly also linked to a powerful antioxidant activity.


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