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Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2019 Jun 11. doi: 10.1007/s12012-019-09534-9. [Epub ahead of print]

The Protective Effect of Crataegus aronia Against High-Fat Diet-Induced Vascular Inflammation in Rats Entails Inhibition of the NLRP-3 Inflammasome Pathway.

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Department of Medicine, Cardiology Section, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, 61421, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, 61421, Saudi Arabia.


This study investigated whether the whole-plant aqueous extract of Crataegus aronia (C. aronia) could protect against or alleviate high-fat diet (HFD)-induced aortic vascular inflammation in rats by inhibiting the NLRP-3 inflammasome pathway and examined some mechanisms of action with respect to its antioxidant and hypolipidemic effects. Adult male Wistar rats were divided into five groups (n = 6/each): standard diet (10% fat) fed to control rats, control + C. aronia (200 mg/kg), HFD (40% fat), HFD + C. aronia, and HFD post-treated with C. aronia. The HFD was fed for 8 weeks and C. aronia was administered orally for 4 weeks. In addition, isolated macrophages from control rats were pre-incubated with two doses of C. aronia (25 and 50 μg/mL) with or without lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation. Only in HFD-fed rats, co- and post-C. aronia therapy lowered circulatory levels of LDL-C and ox-LDL-c and aortic protein levels of LOX-1 and CD36. C. aronia also inhibited the nuclear accumulation of NF-κB and lowered protein levels of NLRP-3, caspase-1, and mature IL-1β. In vitro, in the absence of ox-LDL-c, C. aronia led to reduced nuclear levels of NF-κB, ROS generation, and protein NLRP-3 levels, in both LPS-stimulated and unstimulated macrophages, in a dose-dependent manner. However, protein levels of LOX-1 were not affected by C. aronia in unstimulated cells. In conclusion, C. aronia inhibits the NLRP-3 inflammasome pathway, induced by HFD feeding in the aorta of rats, mainly by its hypolipidemic effect and in vitro, in LPS-stimulated macrophages, by its antioxidant effect.


C. aronia; NLRP-3 inflammasome; Vascular inflammation; ox-LDL-c


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