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J Nutr Biochem. 2013 May;24(5):882-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2012.05.011. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Citrullus lanatus 'sentinel' (watermelon) extract reduces atherosclerosis in LDL receptor-deficient mice.

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  • 1Saha Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536, USA.

Abstract

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus or C. lanatus) has many potentially bioactive compounds including citrulline, which may influence atherosclerosis. In this study, we determined the effects of C. lanatus, provided as an extract of the cultivar 'sentinel,' on hypercholesterolemia-induced atherosclerosis in mice. Male low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice at 8 weeks old were given either C. lanatus 'sentinel' extract (2% vol/vol; n=10) or a mixture of matching carbohydrates (2% vol/vol; n=8) as the control in drinking water while being fed a saturated fat-enriched diet for 12 weeks ad libitum. Mice consuming C. lanatus 'sentinel' extract had significantly increased plasma citrulline concentrations. Systolic blood pressure was comparable between the two groups. Consumption of C. lanatus 'sentinel' extract led to lower body weight and fat mass without influencing lean mass. There were no differences in food and water intake and in urine output between the two groups. C. lanatus 'sentinel' extract administration decreased plasma cholesterol concentrations that were attributed to reductions of intermediate-/low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Plasma concentrations of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and interferon-gamma were decreased and those of interleukin-10 were increased in mice consuming C. lanatus 'sentinel' extract. Intake of C. lanatus 'sentinel' extract resulted in reductions of atherosclerosis in both aortic arch and thoracic regions. In conclusion, consumption of C. lanatus 'sentinel' extract led to reduced body weight gain, decreased plasma cholesterol concentrations, improved homeostasis of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and attenuated development of atherosclerosis without affecting systolic blood pressure in hypercholesterolemic mice.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22902326
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3504646
Free PMC Article

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