Author(s): Araujo JA, Romano EL, Brito BE, Parth V, Romano M,
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Abstract Iron, a major oxidant in vivo, could be involved in atherosclerosis through the induction of the formation of oxidized LDL, a major atherogenic factor. This study was designed to test this hypothesis experimentally. Four groups of New Zealand White rabbits were included: iron-overloaded/hypercholesterolemic (group A, n = 8), iron-overloaded (group B, n = 6), hypercholesterolemic (group C, n = 6), and untreated (group D, n = 6). Iron overload was achieved by the intramuscular administration of 1.5 g of iron dextran divided in 30 doses. Hypercholesterolemia was produced by feeding rabbit chow enriched with 0.5\% (wt/wt) cholesterol. Serum iron, ferritin, cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoperoxides in serum were measured throughout the study. Lipoperoxides were measured at the end of the study in liver, aorta, and spleen homogenates. Aortas of groups A and C had multiple lesions; however, group A had greater lesional involvement than group C (P < .05). Lesions were not observed in rabbits fed normal chow (group D). As expected, serum iron and ferritin were above normal levels in groups A and B. Serum cholesterol increased in groups A and C. Lipoperoxides in liver and spleen homogenates of iron-overloaded rabbits were increased. Interestingly, iron deposits were seen by ultrastructural studies in the arterial walls of rabbits in groups A and B. Our study suggests that iron overload augments the formation of atherosclerotic lesions in hypercholesterolemic rabbits.
This article was published in Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol
and referenced in Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology