Apolipoprotein (apo) E-deficient mice were fed an atherogenic diet with either 1% ethyl ester docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or safflower oil (SO) as a source of linoleic acid for 8 week. Both genders fed DHA had higher proportions of eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA, and lower proportions of linoleic and arachidonic acids in the liver and serum phospholipids than those fed SO. Males fed DHA had greater liver weight and tended to have higher concentrations of serum lipids and liver cholesterol than those fed SO, and there were opposite trends in females. Dietary fats and gender led to no significant effect on lesion sizes in aortic arch and thoracic plus abdominal aorta. These results indicate that the interactive action of sex-related factor(s) with dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids is involved in metabolic changes of serum lipids in apoE-deficient mice, and addition of DHA, compared with addition of SO, is not effective to abolish the atherosclerosis in this animal model.
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