2014 Volume 21 Issue 2 Pages 119-128
Aims: The protective effects of hawthorn fruit against atherosclerosis and the potential underlying mechanisms of this fruit in improving the hypolipidemic and antioxidant activities were investigated in apolipoprotein E-deficient(apoE−/−) mice.
Methods: ApoE−/− mice were divided into a control group(n=10) and hawthorn fruit group(n=10). The mean size of the lesions in the aortic root was assessed, and the serum glucose levels, insulin levels, lipid profiles, total antioxidant capacity(T-AOC) and superoxide dismutase(SOD) and glutathione peroxidase(GSH-PX) activities were measured. The mRNA levels of hepatic genes related to lipid metabolism and antioxidant enzymes were examined.
Results: The hawthorn fruit group mice developed significantly decreased(p＜0.05) atherosclerotic lesions. The levels of serum lipids decreased significantly(p＜0.05) and the levels of cholesterol/triglycerides, including very-low-density lipoprotein(VLDL) and low-density lipoprotein(LDL), decreased in the hawthorn fruit group. The hawthorn fruit mice exhibited significantly increased T-AOC values and SOD and GSH-PX activities(p＜0.05). The hepatic fatty acid synthase(FAS) and sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c(SREBP-1c) mRNA levels were reduced by 42%(p＜0.05) and 23% p＜0.05) in the mice fed the hawthorn fruit diet compared with that observed in the mice fed a standard diet. However, the hepatic hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA reductase(HMG-CoAR) mRNA levels showed no significant differences between the two groups. The mRNA expression levels of the antioxidant enzymes(SOD1, SOD2, Gpx3) were higher(p＜0.05) in the livers of the hawthorn fruit diet mice compared with those observed in the control mice.
Conclusions: Hawthorn fruit exerts a protective effect against atherosclerosis in apoE−/− mice by improving the hypolipidemic and antioxidant activities.