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A diet enriched with tree nuts reduces severity of atherosclerosis but not abdominal aneurysm in angiotensin II-infused apolipoprotein E deficient mice

  • James Phie
    Affiliations
    The Vascular Biology Unit, Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, College of Medicine & Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • Joseph V. Moxon
    Affiliations
    The Vascular Biology Unit, Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, College of Medicine & Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • Smriti M. Krishna
    Affiliations
    The Vascular Biology Unit, Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, College of Medicine & Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • Robert Kinobe
    Affiliations
    College of Public Health, Medical & Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • Susan K. Morton
    Affiliations
    The Vascular Biology Unit, Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, College of Medicine & Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • Jonathan Golledge
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. The Vascular Biology Unit, Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, 4811, Australia.
    Affiliations
    The Vascular Biology Unit, Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, College of Medicine & Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

    Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, The Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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      Highlights

      • The incidence and severity of abdominal aortic aneurysm were not affected by the dietary intervention enriched with macadamia and pecan nuts.
      • Atherosclerosis plaques in the brachiocephalic artery were significantly smaller in mice receiving nuts compared with controls.
      • Atherosclerosis plaque deposition in aortas was not significantly different in mice receiving nuts and controls.

      Abstract

      Background and aims

      Diets enriched with tree nuts have been demonstrated to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular events. Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) shares common risk factors with atherosclerosis and AAA patients commonly have atherosclerosis related cardiovascular events. AAA has some distinct pathological and clinical characteristics to those of atherosclerosis. No previous study has examined the effect of a diet enriched with tree nuts on experimental or clinical AAA. This study investigated the effect of a diet enriched with tree nuts on the development and severity of AAA within an experimental rodent model.

      Methods

      Male apolipoprotein E deficient mice were allocated to a diet enriched with tree nuts or control diet for 56 days (n = 17 per group). After 28 days, all mice were infused with angiotensin II whilst being maintained on their respective diets. The primary outcome was AAA severity assessed by the supra-renal aortic diameter, measured by ultrasound and ex vivo morphometric analysis. The severity of atherosclerosis was assessed by computer-aided analysis of Sudan IV stained aortic arches and sections of brachiocephalic arteries prepared with Van Gieson's stain.

      Results

      The diet enriched with tree nuts did not influence aortic diameter or aortic rupture incidence. Mice receiving the diet enriched with tree nuts had significantly less atherosclerosis within the brachiocephalic artery (p = 0.033) but not in the aortic arch.

      Conclusions

      This experimental study suggests that a diet enriched with tree nuts does not reduce the severity of AAA, but does reduce the severity of atherosclerosis within the brachiocephalic artery. The study was not powered to identify a moderate effect of the diet on the primary outcome and therefore this cannot be excluded.

      Keywords

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