Atherosclerosis results from gradual deposition of lipids in medium and large arteries and is the leading cause of death world wide. Due to the side effects of chemical compounds more attention has been paid to herbal remedies. This study was aimed to evaluate the curative effects of Cornus mas on atherosclerosis and its risk factors in hypercholesterolemic rabbits. Twenty-five male New-Zealand rabbits weighing 2 to 2.5 kg were randomly desigrated into five groups of five and were fed for 60 days using the following diet regimens: Standard diet, standard diet plus C. mas (1 g/kg bw, daily), hypercholesterol diet (1%), hypercholesterol diet plus C. mas (1 g/kg bw, daily), hypercholesterol diet plus lovastatin (10 mg/kg bw, Daily). The concentration of total cholesterol (TC), LDL cholesterol, triglycerides (TG) HDL cholesterol, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), antioxidant capacity, malondialdehyde (MDA) and fibrinogen were determined in rabbits in the beginning and at the end of the experiment. Fatty streak formation was also evaluated. C. mas powder significantly increased antioxidant capacity and decreased MDA, fibrinogen and AIP (AIP = log TG/HDL) in plasma. It also decreased TC, LDL and TG levels and atherosclerotic lesion in the aorta, although the reduction was not statisticant. Results showed that consumption of C. mas might be beneficial in hypercholesterolemic patients due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Key word: Atherosclerosis, Cornus mas, hypercholesterolemia, rabbit.
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