GM tomato packed with ‘good cholesterol’ could help unblock arteries

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

GM tomato packed with ‘good cholesterol’ could help unblock arteries

Related tags Atherosclerosis

Tomatoes that are genetically engineered to produce a peptide that mimics the actions of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol could help to reduce heart disease risk factors, suggest researchers.

The research – reported at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012​ – reveals animal data that for the first time shows consumption of tomatoes genetically engineered to produce a small peptide that mimics the action of HDL cholesterol could reduce plaque build-ups in the blood vessels.

Led by Dr Alan Fogelman from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA, the mouse study finds that consumption of freeze-dried, ground tomatoes resulted in reductions in inflammation and lower levels of plaque build-up in arteries (atherosclerosis).

"We have found a new and practical way to make a peptide that acts like the main protein in good cholesterol, but is many times more effective and can be delivered by eating the plant," ​said Fogelman.

Research details

The UCLA team genetically engineered tomatoes to produce 6F – a small peptide that mimics the action of ApoA-1, which is the main protein of high density lipoprotein (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol.

Fogelman and his team fed the tomatoes to mice that lack the ability to remove ‘bad’ low density lipoprotein (LDL) or cholesterol from their blood, and therefore develop inflammation and atherosclerosis when consuming a high-fat diet.

The team found that when the mice consumed the tomatoes as 2.2% of a Western-style high-fat those given the 6F modified tomatoes had significantly lower blood levels of inflammation and significantly higher levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.

Consumption of the GM tomatoes also resulted in higher activity of an anti-oxidant enzyme associated with good cholesterol and related to a lower risk of heart disease (known as paraoxonase), and decreased levels of a tumour premotor that accelerates plaque build-up (lysophosphatidic acid).

Overall the team said consumption of the 6F tomatoes resulted in less atherosclerotic plaques.

"To our knowledge this is the first example of a drug with these properties that has been produced in an edible plant and is biologically active when fed without any isolation or purification," ​said Fogelman.

Related topics R&D

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3 Good Reasons

Posted by Jennifer Christiano,

What a crock!
A. Mice do not normally experience arterial plaque build-up and heart disease. There is, therefore, de facto, no way to know whether these results apply to humans, until we test the tomatoes on humans. Then we will know whether or not humans resemble this specific type of genetically modified mouse being used as a 'model'.
2. Of course, if we want to reduce heart disease, we could always, oh, perhaps encourage the consumption of a plant-based diet, stress reduction, and more exercise. But that would be a humane and environmentally sound option that would leave the genetic engineering monkeys with nothing to do an no route to more profit for Monsanto and Syrgenta, etc. Mustn't have that!
3. Good thing the environmental consequences of these types of monster organisms don't show up on the balance sheets of the universities and corporations that produce them. Better that the public shall pay for the damage done by the garbage forced down our throats.

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GM tomatoes

Posted by swave rasinski,

this is how some so called scientists try to trick us into believing that GMO is not just equal but even better that non GMO

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