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J Nutr Biochem. 2008 Jan;19(1):40-8. Epub 2007 May 24.

Egg yolk improves lipid profile, lipid peroxidation and retinal abnormalities in a murine model of genetic hypercholesterolemia.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology Research Laboratory, University Clinic, School of Medicine, University of Navarra, 31008 Pamplona, Spain.


Carotenoids are believed to inhibit oxidative stress. We investigated the protective effect of lutein and egg yolk supplementation on systemic and retinal alterations in apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE-/-) mice, an experimental model of hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease. Three-month-old wild-type and apoE-/- mice received one of the following: vehicle, lutein (0.09 mg/kg per day) or egg yolk (0.8 g/kg per day), by gastroesophageal cannula for 3 months. Total cholesterol (TC), triacylglycerol (TG) and lipid peroxidation (TBARS) were measured in plasma. TBARS levels were also determined in retinal homogenates. Ultrastructural morphology was analyzed by electron microscopy. ApoE-/- mice, with increased TC and TG concentrations, had higher systemic (P<.05) and retinal (P<.01) levels of lipid peroxidation than wild-type strains. Electron microscopy showed ultrastructural alterations (basal laminar deposits, open intercellular junctions, increased cytoplasmic vacuoles) in the retinas from apoE-/- mice. Egg yolk significantly reduced plasma TG (P<.05) and, without changes in TC, decreased plasma lipid peroxidation (P<.05). Lutein supplementation marginally affected the parameters. Less severe retinal ultrastructural alterations were observed in apoE-/- mice receiving either egg yolk or lutein. In the apoE-/- mouse model, egg yolk improved the lipid profile and reduced systemic lipid peroxidation (P<.05). While lutein and egg yolk did not seem to reduce retinal lipid peroxidation, a reduction in retinal ultrastructural alterations was observed.

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