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Clin Nutr. 2003 Aug;22(4):379-84.

Virgin olive and fish oils enhance the hepatic antioxidant defence system in atherosclerotic rabbits.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology University of Granada, C/Ramón y Cajal 4 18071-Granada, Spain.



In this study we report the effects of sunflower, virgin olive and fish oils on the lipid profile and antioxidant defence system in liver mitochondria from rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis.


An atherogenic control group were fed for 50 days on a diet containing 3% lard and 1.3% cholesterol. Four groups were fed for an additional period of 30 days with a diet enriched in different oils: sunflower oil, virgin olive oil, refined olive oil and fish oil. A control group was fed with a standard chow.


The atherogenic diet caused important changes in the hepatic mitochondria lipid profile and in the enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defence system accompanied with an increase in the content of hydroperoxides in liver mitochondria. The administration of virgin olive and fish oils showed a better profile in the antioxidant system as well as decrease in the content of hydroperoxides.


The intake of cholesterol- and lard-enriched diet leads to a high impairment in the hepatic antioxidant defence system. However, the replacement of that diet by other unsaturated fat-enriched diets using virgin olive, sunflower and fish oil enhances hepatic antioxidant defence system, virgin olive and fish oil diet provide the best results.

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