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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 1997 Mar;6(1):17-21.

Vervet monkeys and whole-food diets for studying the effects of dietary lipids on plasma lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis.

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National Research Programme for Nutritional Intervention Medical Research Council, Tygerberg, South Africa.


It is well established that some species of nonhuman primates are models of choice for polygenic hyperlipoproteinaemia and atherosclerosis induced and promoted by diets as occur in man. The Vervet monkey (Cercopithecus aethiops) has proved to be one such model. Our group has used this model extensively to determine the effects of a variety of dietary lipid components on plasma lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis against a background of a Western atherogenic or prudent diet. The diets fed in all these studies were formulated entirely from cooked foods that are normal components of Westernised diet with no extra synthetic cholesterol added. This model has been used successfully to evaluate the effect of fish oil, amount and degree of dietary fat unsaturation and w-6/w-3 fatty acid ratio and lipid-lowering agents on plasma lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis. Dietary manipulation in this model is simple, relatively inexpensive and offers almost unlimited options for future dietary intervention studies.

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