Naringenin Decreases Progression of Atherosclerosis by Improving Dyslipidemia in High-Fat-Fed Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Null Mice

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Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology





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OBJECTIVE: Naringenin is a citrus flavonoid that potently inhibits the assembly and secretion of apolipoprotein B100-containing lipoproteins in cultured hepatocytes and improves the dyslipidemia and insulin resistance in a mouse model of the metabolic syndrome. In the present study, we used low-density lipoprotein receptor-null mice fed a high-fat diet (Western, TD96125) to test the hypothesis that naringenin prevents atherosclerosis.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Three groups (chow, Western, and Western plus naringenin) were fed ad libitum for 6 months. The Western diet increased fasting plasma triglyceride (TG) (5-fold) and cholesterol (8-fold) levels compared with chow, whereas the addition of naringenin significantly decreased both lipids by 50%. The Western-fed mice developed extensive atherosclerosis in the aortic sinus because plaque area was increased by 10-fold compared with chow-fed animals. Quantitation of fat-soluble dye (Sudan IV)-stained aortas, prepared en face, revealed that Western-fed mice also had a 10-fold increase in plaque deposits throughout the arch and in the abdominal sections of the aorta, compared with chow. Atherosclerosis in both areas was significantly decreased by more than 70% in naringenin-treated mice. Consistent with quantitation of aortic lesions, the Western-fed mice had a significant 6-fold increase in cholesterol and a 4-fold increase in TG deposition in the aorta compared with chow-fed mice. Both were reduced more than 50% by naringenin. The Western diet induced extensive hepatic steatosis, with a 10-fold increase in both TG and cholesteryl ester mass compared with chow. The addition of naringenin decreased both liver TG and cholesteryl ester mass by 80%. The hyperinsulinemia and obesity that developed in Western-fed mice was normalized by naringenin to levels observed in chow-fed mice.

CONCLUSIONS: These in vivo studies demonstrate that the citrus flavonoid naringenin ameliorates the dyslipidemia in Western-fed low-density lipoprotein receptor-null mice, leading to decreased atherosclerosis; and suggests a potential therapeutic strategy for the hyperlipidemia and increased risk of atherosclerosis associated with insulin resistance.