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Dietary herring improves plasma lipid profiles and reduces atherosclerosis in obese low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice

Journal article
Authors Britt G. Gabrielsson
Johannes Wikström
Robert Jakubowicz
Sofia Marmon
Nils-Gunnar Carlsson
Nina Jansson
Li-Ming Gan
Ingrid Undeland
Malin Lönn
Agneta Holmäng
Ann-Sofie Sandberg
Published in International Journal of Molecular Medicine
Volume 29
Issue 3
Pages 331-37
ISSN 1107-3756
Publication year 2012
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Clinical Chemistry and Transfusion Medicine
Pages 331-37
Language en
Keywords low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient, en face histology, lipoprotein particle cholesterol profile, herring
Subject categories Endocrinology, Cardiovascular medicine, Nutrition and Dietetics


Diet is a significant modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease and high fish intake has been associated with vascular health in population studies. However, intervention studies have been inconclusive. In this study, male low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice were given 16-week high fat/high sucrose diets, supplemented with either minced herring fillets or minced beef. The diets were matched in total fat and cholesterol content; taurine content and fatty acid composition was analysed. Body weights were recorded throughout the study; plasma lipids were analysed at week 8 and 16. Body composition and adipocyte size were evaluated at study end. Atherosclerosis was evaluated at week 12 (ultrasound) and at termination (en face histology). Herring-fed mice had a higher proportion of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the hepatic triacylglycerides (TAG) and phospholipid fractions. The herring-fed mice had increased body weight (P=0.007), and reduced epididymal adipocyte size (P=0.009), despite similar food intake and body composition as the beef-fed mice. The herring-fed mice had lower plasma TAG and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-cholesterol concentrations throughout the study (TAG; P=0.0012 and 0.004, VLDL-cholesterol; P=0.006 and 0.041, week 8 and 16, respectively). At week 16, the herring-fed had higher plasma concentrations of HDL-cholesterol (P=0.004) and less atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic arch (P=0.007) compared with the beef-fed mice. In conclusion, dietary herring in comparison to beef markedly improved vascular health in this mouse model, suggesting that herring provides an added value beyond its content of macronutrients.

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