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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Volume 9(1); 1996 > Article
Review Paper
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 1996;9(1): 1-25.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.1996.1    Published online February 1, 1996.
Atherosclerosis, cholesterol and egg - Review -
I. K. Paik, R. Blair
The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis can not be summarized as a single process. Lipid infiltration hypothesis and endothelial injury hypothesis have been proposed and investigated. Recent developments show that there are many points of potential interactions between them and that they can actually be regarded as two phases of a single, unifying hypothesis. Among the many risk factors of atherosclerosis, plasma homocysteine and lipoprotein(a) draw a considerable interest because they are independent indicators of atherogenicity. Triglyeride(TG)-rich lipoproteins(chylomicron and VLDL) are not considered to be atherogenic but they are related to the metabolism of HDL cholesterol and indirectly related to coronary heart disease(CHD). LDL can of itself be atherogenic but the oxidative products of this lipoprotein are more detrimental. HDL cholesterol has been considered to be a favorable cholesterol. The so-called `causalist view` claims that HDL traps excess cholesterol from cellular membranes and transfers it to TG-rich lipoproteins that are subsequently removed by hepatic receptors. In the so-called `noncausalist view`. HDL does not interfere directly with cholesterol deposition in the arterial wall but instead reflects he metabolism of TG-rich lopoproteins and their conversion to atherogenic remnants. Approximately 70-80% of the human population shows an effective feedback control mechanism in cholesterol homeostasis. Type of dietary fat has a significant effect on the lipoprotein cholesterol metabolism and atherosclerosis. Generally, saturated fatty acids elevate and PUFA lower serum cholesterol, whereas MUFA have no specific effect. EPA and DHA inhibit the synthesis of TG, VLDL and LDL, and may have favourable effects on some of the risk factors. Phospholipids, particularly lecithin, have an antiatherosclerotic effect. Essential phospholipids(EPL) may enhance the formation of polyunsaturated cholesteryl ester(CE) which is less sclerotic and more easily dispersed via enhanced hydrolysis of CE in the arterial wall. Also, neutral fecal steroid elimination may be enhanced and cholesterol absorption reduced following EPL treatment. Antioxidants protect lipoproteins from oxidation, and cells from the injury of toxic, oxidized LDL. The rationale for lowering of serum cholesterol is the strong association between elevation of plasma or serum cholesterol and CHD. Cholesterol-lowing, especially LDL holesterol, to the target level could be achieved using diet and combination of drug therapy. Information on the link between cholesterol and CHD has decreased egg consumption by 16-25%. Some clinical studies have indicated that dietary cholesterol and egg have a significant hypercholesterolemic effect, while others have indicated no effect. Tese studies differed in the use of purified cholesterol or cholesterol in eggs, in the range of baseline and challenge cholesterol levels, in the quality and quantity of concomitant dietary fat, in the study population decographics and initial serum cholesterol levels, and clinical settings. Cholesterol content of eggs varies to a certain esxtent depending on the age, breed and diet of hens. However, egg yolk cholesterol level is very resistant to change because of the particular mechanism involved in yolk formation. Egg yoik contains a factor of factors responsible for accelerated cholesterol metabolism and excretion compared with crystalline cholesterol. One of these factors could be egg lecithin,, Egg lecithin may not be as effective as soybean lecithin in lowering serum cholesterol level due probably to the differences of fatty acid composition. However, egg lecithin may have positive effects in hypercholesterolemia by increasing serum HDL level and excretion of fecal cholesterol. The association of serum cholesterol with egg consumption has been widely studied. When the basal or control diet contained little or no cholesterol, consumption of 1 or 2 eggs daily increased the concentration of plasma cholesterol, whereas that of the normolipemic persons on a normal diet was not significantly influenced by consuming 2 to 3 eggs daily. At higher levels of egg consumption, the concentration of HDL tends to increase as well as LDL. There exist hyper-and hypo-responders to dietary(egg) cholesterol. Identifying individuals in both categories would be useful from the point of view of nutrition guidelines. Dietary modification of fatty acid composition has been pursued as a viable method of modifying fat composition of eggs and adding value to eggs. In many cases beneficial effects of PuFA enriched eggs have been demonstrated. Generally, consumption of n-3 fatty acids enriched eggs lowered the concentration of plasma TG and total cholesterol compared to the consumption of regular eggs. Due to the highly oxidative nature of PUFA, stability of this fat is essential. The implication of hepatic lipid accumulation which was observed in hens fed on fish oils should be explored. Nutritional manipulations, such as supplementation with iodine, inhibitors of cholesterol biosynthesis, garlic products, amino acids and high fibre ingredients, have met a limited success in lowering egg cholesterol.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Lipoproteins; Cholesterol; Egg Cholesterol

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