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Differential effects of daily-moderate versus weekend-binge alcohol consumption on atherosclerotic plaque development in mice

      Abstract

      Objectives

      We examined the effect of daily-moderate (2 drinks/day, 7 days/week) and weekend-binge (7 drinks/day, 2 days/week) patterns of alcohol consumption on plasma lipid levels and physiological parameters of atherosclerotic plaque development.

      Methods

      ApoE k/o mouse were fed (1) ‘daily-moderate’ (blood alcohol content: 0.07%) or (2) ‘weekend-binge’ (blood alcohol content: 0.23%), or (3) an isocaloric cornstarch mix. Then, to induce atherosclerotic plaque formation, all groups underwent partial carotid artery ligation, started on an atherogenic diet and continued on the alcohol feeding regimen. After 2 weeks plasma lipid levels and atherosclerotic plaque formation were assessed.

      Results

      While there was an increase in HDL-C levels in both binge and moderate groups, LDL-C levels were significantly decreased in the daily-moderate drinking mice and significantly elevated in the weekend-binge drinking mice. In the daily-moderate alcohol group there was a decrease in atherosclerotic plaque volume, concomitant with an increase in lumen volume and decreased macrophage accumulation, when compared to no alcohol mice. In contrast, after 4 weeks of weekend-binge alcohol there was an increase in plaque volume, concomitant with a decrease in lumen volume and increased deposition of macrophages.

      Conclusion

      These findings demonstrate for the first time a differential effect of daily-moderate vs. weekend-binge alcohol consumption on atherosclerotic plaque development and highlight the importance of patterns of alcohol consumption, as opposed to total amount consumed, in relation to the cardiovascular effects of alcohol.

      Keywords

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