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Oxidized low density lipoproteins in atherogenesis: role of dietary modification

, : Oxidized low density lipoproteins in atherogenesis: role of dietary modification. Annual Review of Nutrition 16: 51-71

The development of atherosclerosis is a complex and multistep process. There are many determinants in the pathogenesis of this condition, with different factors presumably playing key roles at different times in the evolution of the atherosclerotic plaque. It has been suggested that oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL) by cells in the artery wall leads to a proatherogenic particle that may help initiate early lesion formation. For this reason, understanding the determinants of LDL susceptibility to oxidation is essential for developing therapeutic strategies to inhibit this process. Oxidation of LDL begins with the abstraction of hydrogen from polyunsaturated fatty acids; thus, LDL fatty acid composition undoubtedly contributes to the process of LDL oxidation. Since dietary fatty acids influence the fatty acid composition of LDL and cell membranes, the amount and type of fat in the diet may effect susceptibility of LDL and cells to oxidative damage. Additionally, since cell membrane fatty acid composition also influences cellular formation of reactive oxygen species, dietary fatty acids may help determine the prooxidant activity of artery wall cells. Both cells and lipoproteins contain a variety of antioxidants that provide protection against oxidative stress. A major source of these antioxidants is the diet. Enrichment of the diet with foods high in such antioxidants as vitamin E, beta-carotene, or vitamin C, or supplementation of the diet with antioxidant vitamins, may inhibit oxidation and the process of atherosclerosis.

Accession: 002914160

PMID: 8839919

DOI: 10.1146/

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