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Ann Nutr Metab. 1996;40(2):71-80.

The effects of olive oil upon rat serum lipid levels and lymphocyte functions appear to be due to oleic acid.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, UK.


In order to investigate whether previously reported effects of feeding olive oil (OO) upon rat serum lipid concentrations and immune cell functions are due to oleic acid, weanling rats were fed for 6 weeks on diets containing 20% by weight of OO, safflower oil (SO), or high oleic acid sunflower oil (HOSO); a low-fat (LF) diet containing 2.5% by weight of lipid was used as a control. Feeding the OO or HOSO diets resulted in an elevated serum triacylglycerol concentration as compared with feeding the LF or SO diets. The serum total cholesterol concentrations were raised in the animals fed the high-fat diets and were highest in animals fed the OO or the HOSO diet. The fatty acid composition of the serum and of spleen lymphocytes reflected that of the diet fed. The mitogen-stimulated spleen lymphocyte proliferation ex vivo was significantly lower following OO or HOSO feeding as compared with LF or SO feeding. Similarly, feeding the OO or the HOSO diet resulted in lower spleen natural killer cell activity as compared with LF or SO feeding. These observations indicate that the effects of OO feeding are most likely due to oleic acid rather than to other components of OO.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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