Antioxidant treatment inhibits the development of intimal thickening after balloon injury of the aorta in hypercholesterolemic rabbits

Anna Freyschuss, Ann Stiko-Rahm, Jesper Swedenborg, Peter Henriksson, Ingemar Björkhem, Lars Berglund, Jan Nilsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


The effect of the antioxidant butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) on the accumulation of intimai smooth muscle cells (SMC) and development of intimai thickening after balloon catheter injury of the aorta were studied in rabbits with dietary-induced hyperlipidemia. Two sets of New Zealand White rabbits (eight rabbits in each group) were fed either 0.25% cholesterol or 0.25% cholesterol/1% BHT for a total of 6 wk. Serum lipid levels did not differ between the two groups. 3 wk after the start of the study, a balloon injury of the aorta was performed, after which the rabbits were kept on their respective diets for another 3 wk. After this period of time, the rabbits were killed and their aortas were investigated. The BHT-treated rabbits had only one fourth of the intimai thickness (P < 0.0001) and half the number of SMC/mm intima (P < 0.001), as compared to the rabbits fed only cholesterol. There was also a lower number of macrophages in the BHT-treated group. T lymphocytes were present in the intima of cholesterol-fed rabbits, whereas no such cells could be identified in the BHT-fed animals. There were significantly lower levels of autooxidation products of cholesterol (7-oxocholesterol, cholesterol-5,6-epoxide, and 7β-hydroxycholesterol) in the aortas of BHT-treated rabbits, P < 0.001. In conclusion, the antioxidant BHT effectively inhibited the accumulation of intimal SMC and the development of intimai thickening of the aorta in hypercholesterolemic rabbits after a balloon catheter-induced injury. These results indicate that antioxidants may modify intimai response to injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1282-1288
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene
  • Endothelial injury
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Smooth muscle cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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