Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2013 Apr 12. Epub 2013 Apr 12. PMID: 23585134

Abstract Title: 

The Effects of Dietary Flaxseed on Atherosclerotic Plaque Regression.


Dietary flaxseed can retard the progression of atherosclerotic plaques. However, it remains unclear whether these anti-atherogenic effects extend to plaque regression. The therapeutic potential of dietary flaxseed on atherosclerotic plaque regression and vascular contractile function is evaluated utilizing a novel rabbit model. Rabbits were randomly assigned to receive either a regular diet for 12 weeks (Group I) or a 1% cholesterol-supplemented diet for 4 weeks followed by a regular diet for 8 weeks (Group II). The remaining experimental animals were treated as in Group II but were fed for an additional 14 weeks with either a regular diet (Group III) or a 10% flaxseed-supplemented diet (Group IV). Animals in Group II showed clear evidence of plaque growth stabilization. Their vessels also exhibited significantly lower norepinephrine-induced contraction and an impaired relaxation response to acetylcholine in comparison to Group I animals. Dietary flax-supplementation resulted in a significant≈40% reduction in plaque formation (P = 0.033). Both Group II and III animals displayed improved contraction and endothelial-dependent vessel relaxation. Dietary flaxseed is a valuable strategy to accelerate the regression of atherosclerotic plaques; however, the flaxseed intervention did not demonstrate a clear beneficial effect on vessel contractile response and endothelial-dependent vasorelaxation.