New atherosclerosis causative factors and preventive modalities have been identified. Atherogenic factors include lipid oxidation products, such as cholesterol oxidation products, malonaldehyde and other aldehydes; trans-fatty acids; some saturated fatty acids (lauric, myristic and possibly palmitic acids); and myristic acid plus cholesterol. Lipid oxidation products are well suited to induce arterial damage, based on their known cytotoxic effects; evidence also indicates the possibility of plaque promotion and stimulation of thrombogenesis. Anti-atherogenic factors include antioxidants, fish oils and other polyunsaturates (if protected from oxidation), fibre and trace minerals such as copper, manganese, selenium and zinc. Iron is unique, being considered as both a potential promoter of atherosclerosis (component of ferritin, conceivably inducing lipid oxidation) and a possible anti-atherogenic component (of antioxidant enzyme catalase). It is apparent that an entire new series of research challenges has been uncovered.
- © 1995 The Biochemical Society