Background: The purpose of this study was to determine whether dietary manipulation can reliably induce early-stage atherosclerosis and clinically relevant changes in vascular function in an established, well-characterized non-human primate model. Methods: We fed 112 baboons a high-cholesterol, high-fat challenge diet for two years. We assayed circulating biomarkers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, at 0, 7, and 104 weeks into the challenge; assessed arterial compliance noninvasively at 104 weeks; and measured atherosclerotic lesions in three major arteries at necropsy. Results: We observed evidence of atherosclerosis in all but one baboon fed the two-year challenge diet. CVD risk biomarkers, the prevalence, size, and complexity of arterial lesions, plus consequent arterial stiffness, were increased in comparison with dietary control animals. Conclusions: Feeding baboons a high-cholesterol, high-fat diet for two years reliably induces atherosclerosis, with risk factor profiles, arterial lesions, and changes in vascular function also seen in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology