This study examined the effects of dietary supplementation with cod-liver oil on impaired endothelium-dependent relaxations in hypercholesterolemia and in atherosclerosis in porcine coronary arteries. Sixteen male Yorkshire pigs underwent balloon endothelium removal of the left coronary arteries and were fed a 2% high-cholesterol diet for 10 weeks, with or without dietary supplementation of cod-liver oil (30 ml/day) (oil-fed and cholesterol-fed groups, respectively). This model allowed the simultaneous examination of the effects of dietary cod-liver oil on vascular reactivity in hypercholesterolemia alone (right coronary artery) and in atherosclerosis (left coronary artery). At 10 weeks of feeding, the dietary treatment with cod-liver oil caused an increase in plasma levels of eicosapentaenoic acid and a decrease in the plasma levels of arachidonic acid, whereas the treatment had no significant effect on the increases in plasma lipid levels induced by the high-cholesterol feeding. Morphometric analysis showed significant inhibition of coronary atherosclerosis by the treatment. Endothelium-dependent responses were examined in vitro in ring preparations and in bioassay experiments. Endothelium-dependent relaxations to bradykinin, serotonin, and adenosine 5'-diphosphate were larger in both right and left coronary arteries from oil-fed than from cholesterol-fed animals. Aggregating platelets from cholesterol-fed and oil-fed pigs induced comparable, larger endothelium-dependent relaxations in rings from oil-fed than from cholesterol-fed pigs. The contractions induced by serotonin or aggregating platelets were significantly inhibited in rings with endothelium from oil-fed pigs, whereas they were comparable in rings without endothelium in both groups. Relaxations to sodium nitroprusside and contractions to potassium chloride or serotonin were comparable in rings without endothelium in both groups. The bioassay experiments revealed that the release of endothelium-derived relaxing factor in response to bradykinin and the relaxations of vascular smooth muscle to the endothelial factor were greater after the fish-oil diet. These results indicate that dietary supplementation of cod-liver oil delays the impairment of endothelium-dependent relaxations in hypercholesterolemia and in atherosclerosis, partly because of an improved release of endothelium-derived relaxing factor and partly because of an improved relaxation of coronary smooth muscle to the factor.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)