Probucol attenuates the development of aortic atherosclerosis in cholesterol-fed rabbits

A. Daugherty, B. S. Zweifel, G. Schonfeld

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118 Scopus citations


1. Probucol was administered to rabbits fed a cholesterol-enriched (2% wt/wt) diet to determine potential anti-atherogenic effects in a preparation in which the disease process is due to elevated plasma concentrations of cholesterol ester-rich very low density lipoproteins (CER-VLDL). 2. Probucol was supplemented to the diet at 1% wt/wt which resulted in plasma concentrations rising steadily to 53 ± 8 μg ml-1 after 14 days, with no significant changes during continued administration. Dietary consumption and body weight gains were comparable in the drug-treated and control groups during the observation period. 3. Probucol treatment did not significantly affect plasma concentrations of total cholesterol, unesterified cholesterol, triglycerides or phospholipids. 4. The concentration of CER-VLDL in plasma and its physicochemical characteristics were not significantly changed during administration of probucol. CER-VLDL from both control and probucol-treated animals was a potent stimulant of the augmentation of the intracellular incorporation of [3H]-oleate into cholesteryl-[3H]-oleate in cultured macrophages. 5. Despite the lack of effect of probucol on concentrations of plasma lipids and the cell interaction characteristics of CER-VLDL, administration of the drug markedly decreased the extent of intimal aortic surface area covered by grossly discernible atherosclerotic lesions from 55.6 ± 11.8% to 11.6 ± 1.9% in thoracic sections, and from 49.1 ± 10.2% to 7.2 ± 0.4% in abdominal sections. Furthermore, probucol treatment significantly reduced the deposition of total cholesterol in vascular tissue. 6. Probucol reduced the extent of aortic atherosclerosis produced by diet-induced hypercholesterolemia in rabbits. This reduction occurred in the absence of any significant change in the characteristics of plasma lipoproteins that were determined. These results indicate that either there is a role of oxidation in the disease process of this animal model of atherosclerosis or that probucol is acting via a presently undefined mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-618
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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