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Br J Nutr. 2009 Jan;101(2):233-9. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508995684. Epub 2008 Sep 2.

Dried plums (prunes) reduce atherosclerosis lesion area in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice.

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Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, 1334 Eckles Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.


Dried plums are a fruit high in pectin with substantial antioxidant activity. Previous studies in rats and man indicate that dried plums or plum fibre lower liver and plasma cholesterol, respectively. The apoE-deficient mouse, which develops atherosclerotic lesions rapidly when fed cholesterol, was used to determine the ability of dried plums to reduce atherosclerosis. Diets containing 0.15% cholesterol and either 0 (B+C), 4.75% (Lo DP) or 9.5% (Hi DP) dried plum powder were fed for 5 months. An additional group fed the basal diet without cholesterol (B-C) was included as a negative control. Arterial trees were dissected, stained to visualize lesions, and lesion area was quantitated by imaging software. Urinary thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) excretion and serum amyloid P-component (SAP) were measured as indicators of oxidative stress and inflammation, respectively. Final serum cholesterol was significantly increased and serum TAG decreased in the B+C group and dried plum groups relative to the B-C group. Percentage arterial tree atherosclerotic lesion area was significantly lower in the B-C and Lo DP groups compared to the B+C group (P<0.05), with a trend for a difference between the B+C and Hi DP groups (P=0.075). SAP concentration was significantly lower in the B-C and Lo DP groups with the Hi DP group trending lower than the B+C group. Urinary TBARS excretion did not differ among the groups. These results suggest that consuming dried plums may help slow the development of atherosclerosis.

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