Grasas y Aceites, Vol 49, No 1 (1998)

Virgin olive oil and cardiovascular diseases. Plasma lipid profile and lipid composition of human erythrocyte membrane.

V. Ruiz Gutiérrez
Instituto de la Grasa (C.S.I.C.), Spain

F. J. G. Muriana
Instituto de la Grasa (C.S.I.C.), Spain

J. Villar
Unidad de Hipertensión Arterial y Lípidos, Servicio de Medicina Interna,, Spain


We studied the effect of virgin olive oil on plasma lipids and erythrocyte membrane lipids of healthy subjects and hypertensive patients (with or without hypercholesterolaemia). The effect of high-oleic sunflower oil was also tested. The study was conducted over two 4-week periods, with a washout (4-week) period between both monounsaturated diets. Olive oil and high-oleic sunflower oil signiflcantly increased the plasma HDL cholesterol concentration, but only decreased the plasma LDL cholesterol concentration in healthy subjects. There was a reduction in the ratio of cholesterol to phospholipids in the erythrocyte membrane of healthy subjects, while an increase in the erythrocyte of hypertensive patients after both MUFA periods. The content of membrane cholesteryl esters was fully decreased. Olive oil (but not high-oleic sunflower oil) increased the content of long-chain PUFAs (arachidonic acid, and docosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids of n-3 family) in the erythrocyte membrane of hypertensive patients. The effects were more evident in hypercholesterolaemic patients. Our study indicates that olive oil and high-oleic sunflower oil improve the plasma atherogenic profile In humans, although olive oil (and not high-oleic sunflower oil) had favourable effect on membrane homeostasis processes.


Essential hypertension; High oleic sunflower oil; Humans; Membrane lipids; Plasma lipids; Virgin olive oil.

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Copyright (c) 1998 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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