Phenol-enriched virgin olive oil promotes macrophage-specific reverse cholesterol transport in vivo

Lídia Cedó*, Sara Fernández-Castillejo, Laura Rubió, Jari Metso, David Santos, Daniel Muñoz-Aguayo, Andrea Rivas-Urbina, Mireia Tondo, Karen Alejandra Méndez-Lara, Marta Farràs, Matti Jauhiainen, Maria José Motilva, Montserrat Fitó, Francisco Blanco-Vaca, Rosa Solà, Joan Carles Escolà-Gil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The intake of olive oil (OO) enriched with phenolic compounds (PCs) promotes ex vivo HDL-mediated macrophage cholesterol efflux in humans. We aimed to determine the effects of PC-enriched virgin OO on reverse cholesterol transport (RevCT) from macrophages to feces in vivo. Female C57BL/6 mice were given intragastric doses of refined OO (ROO) and a functional unrefined virgin OO enriched with its own PC (FVOO) for 14 days. Our experiments included two independent groups of mice that received intragastric doses of the phenolic extract (PE) used to prepare the FVOO and the vehicle solution (saline), as control, for 14 days. FVOO intake led to a significant increase in serum HDL cholesterol and its ability to induce macrophage cholesterol efflux in vitro when compared with ROO group. This was concomitant with the enhanced macrophage-derived [3H]cholesterol transport to feces in vivo. PE intake per se also increased HDL cholesterol levels and significantly promoted in vivo macrophage-to-feces RevCT rate when compared with saline group. PE upregulated the expression of the main macrophage transporter involved in macrophage cholesterol efflux, the ATP binding cassette a1. Our data provide direct evidence of the crucial role of OO PCs in the induction of macrophage-specific RevCT in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number266
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • HDL
  • Mice VOHF project
  • Phenolic compounds
  • Reverse cholesterol transport
  • Virgin olive oil


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