Atherosclerosis has been known for many years, yet its etiology remains unknown. Hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for atherosclerosis. The mechanism by which it triggers endothelial injury is not known. Since the role of the antioxidant vitamin E on experimental atherosclerosis is inconsistent, the present study was undertaken to evaluate platelet lipid peroxidation and the role of vitamin E (α-tocopherol) as protective factor in atherosclerosis in rhesus monkeys. A significant decrease in serum cholesterol and serum triglyceride levels was found in the group of animals which were reverted to stock diet along with vitamin E injections after 9 months of atherogenic diet feeding. Decreases in malonyldialdehyde levels and antioxidant enzyme activities were less significant in animals continued on an atherogenic diet feeding along with vitamin E as compared with animals fed a stock diet with vitamin E supplementation. The overall observations in this study suggest that antioxidant status and lipid peroxidation could be partly restored with vitamin E supplementation in experimental atherosclerosis. Damage to endothelial cells destroys their antithrombotic status and leads to fatal thrombosis. α-Tocopherol offers the best hope, but the question is how much of it should be administered for the prevention of atherosclerosis.

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