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

3 commentsBy Nathan Gray , 06-Nov-2012

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.

3 comments (Comments are now closed)

GM Tomato retail or whole sale outlet contact information????

where can the GM tomato powdered suppliment be obtained? *Seeds, extract?

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Posted by Bruce Johnson
18 January 2013 | 16h19

Consumer Demands It

and the feeding trials went for how long?

A: I don't care.

and the human trials will be done on whom??

A: I will eat it personally.

take the GMO and shove it, we consumers simply wont buy it, and as a "drug" it need be labelled to source thanks!

I am a consumer and I will personally buy it.

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Posted by Jake
14 November 2012 | 20h52

and the consumer DOES NOT WANT IT!

and the feeding trials went for how long?
and the human trials will be done on whom??
take the GMO and shove it, we consumers simply wont buy it, and as a "drug" it need be labelled to source thanks!

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Posted by Laurel
07 November 2012 | 11h57