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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 758723, 9 pages
Research Article

Vitamin A-Deficient Diet Accelerated Atherogenesis in Apolipoprotein E−/− Mice and Dietary β-Carotene Prevents This Consequence

1The Bert W. Strassburger Lipid Center, Sheba Medical Center, 5265601 Tel-Hashomer, Israel
2Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
3N.B.T., Eilat, Israel
4Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary

Received 1 July 2014; Revised 25 November 2014; Accepted 3 December 2014

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Valacchi

Copyright © 2015 Noa Zolberg Relevy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Vitamin A is involved in regulation of glucose concentrations, lipid metabolism, and inflammation, which are major risk factors for atherogenesis. However, the effect of vitamin A deficiency on atherogenesis has not been investigated. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to examine whether vitamin A deficiency accelerates atherogenesis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice (apoE−/−). ApoE−/− mice were allocated into the following groups: control, fed vitamin A-containing chow diet; BC, fed chow diet fortified with Dunaliella powder containing βc isomers; VAD, fed vitamin A-deficient diet; and VAD-BC group, fed vitamin A-deficient diet fortified with a Dunaliella powder. Following 15 weeks of treatment, liver retinol concentration had decreased significantly in the VAD group to about 30% that of control group. Vitamin A-deficient diet significantly increased both plasma cholesterol concentrations and the atherosclerotic lesion area at the aortic sinus (+61%) compared to the control group. Dietary βc fortification inhibited the elevation in plasma cholesterol and retarded atherogenesis in mice fed the vitamin A-deficient diet. The results imply that dietary vitamin A deficiency should be examined as a risk factor for atherosclerosis and that dietary βc, as a sole source of retinoids, can compensate for vitamin A deficiency.