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Biochem Cell Biol. 2008 Aug;86(4):293-301. doi: 10.1139/o08-070.

Conjugated linoleic acid and atherosclerosis: studies in animal models.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.


Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) are isomeric forms of linoleic acid (LA) containing two conjugated sites of unsaturation. The most abundant dietary form of CLA is the cis-9,trans-11 (c-9,t-11) isomer that is found in the fatty tissues and milk of ruminant animals. CLA can also be acquired by ingestion of supplements, which are usually equimolar mixtures of the c-9,t-11 and t-10,c-12 CLA. For more than a decade, the potential for CLA to modify atherosclerosis in animal models has been examined. However, to date, the studies have failed to reach consensus on whether CLA can be effective in reducing the incidence or severity of atherosclerotic lesions, or whether or not plasma lipid and lipoprotein levels can be improved with CLA supplementation. This review will examine the evidence for and against a role for CLA in atherosclerosis, with a focus on the rabbit, the hamster, and the apoE-deficient mouse.

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