Dried plums are a fruit high in pectin with substantial antioxidant activity. Previous studies in rats and man indicate that dried plums or plum fibre lower liver and plasma cholesterol, respectively. The apoE-deficient mouse, which develops atherosclerotic lesions rapidly when fed cholesterol, was used to determine the ability of dried plums to reduce atherosclerosis. Diets containing 0·15 % cholesterol and either 0 (B+C), 4·75 % (Lo DP) or 9·5 % (Hi DP) dried plum powder were fed for 5 months. An additional group fed the basal diet without cholesterol (B − C) was included as a negative control. Arterial trees were dissected, stained to visualize lesions, and lesion area was quantitated by imaging software. Urinary thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) excretion and serum amyloid P-component (SAP) were measured as indicators of oxidative stress and inflammation, respectively. Final serum cholesterol was significantly increased and serum TAG decreased in the B+C group and dried plum groups relative to the B − C group. Percentage arterial tree atherosclerotic lesion area was significantly lower in the B − C and Lo DP groups compared to the B+C group (P < 0·05), with a trend for a difference between the B+C and Hi DP groups (P = 0·075). SAP concentration was significantly lower in the B − C and Lo DP groups with the Hi DP group trending lower than the B+C group. Urinary TBARS excretion did not differ among the groups. These results suggest that consuming dried plums may help slow the development of atherosclerosis.
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