Atherosclerosis is a multifactorial disease resulting from the development and progression of atheromatous plaque. Thus, the nature and amount of lipids in the diet may act as a risk or protective factor for cardiovascular impairment. The extra virgin olive oil, due to its antioxidant power, was used in this study to evaluate its therapeutic effects on the atherosclerosis process. Male Wistar rats were divided into 6 groups: negative control, normocaloric diet and olive oil, positive control, high fat diet and olive oil, high fat diet and olive oil with fasting and dyslipidemia induction group with high fat diet/treatment with olive oil. After 90 days, blood was collected. Euthanasia was performed and carotid arteries, abdominal aorta and iliac vessels were removed for histopathological analysis. Areas of vacuolar degeneration and pyknotic nuclei were not found. Aorta histological analysis showed grade II lesions in all animals that consumed olive oil as treatment after induction of dyslipidemia, whereas only 20% of the animals in the group in which normocaloric diet and olive oil were administered throughout the experiment presented the same lesion degree (intimal thickening and presence of foam cells). The triglycerides/HDL index was significantly lower in the normocaloric diet group than in the dyslipidemia and subsequent ingestion of olive oil group (p = 0.0159). The continuous administration of a balanced diet and extra virgin olive oil has a potential positive effect on the lipid profile and subsequent formation of atheroma plaque.
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