Dietary Silicon Deficiency Does Not Exacerbate Diet-Induced Fatty Lesions in Female ApoE Knockout Mice.

18 May 2018

BACKGROUND: Dietary silicon has been positively linked with vascular health and protection against atherosclerotic plaque formation, but the mechanism of action is unclear. OBJECTIVES: We investigated the effect of dietary silicon on 1) serum and aorta silicon concentrations, 2) the development of aortic lesions and serum lipid concentrations, and 3) the structural and biomechanic properties of the aorta. METHODS: Two studies, of the same design, were conducted to address the above objectives. Female mice, lacking the apolipoprotein E (apoE) gene, and therefore susceptible to atherosclerosis, were separated into 3 groups of 10-15 mice, each exposed to a high-fat diet (21% wt milk fat and 1.5% wt cholesterol) but with differing concentrations of dietary silicon, namely: silicon-deprived (-Si; <3-μg silicon/g feed), silicon-replete in feed (+Si-feed; 100-μg silicon/g feed), and silicon-replete in drinking water (+Si-water; 115-μg silicon/mL) for 15-19 wk. Silicon supplementation was in the form of sodium metasilicate (feed) or monomethylsilanetriol (drinking water). RESULTS: The serum silicon concentration in the -Si group was significantly lower than in the +Si-feed (by up to 78%; P < 0.003) and the +Si-water (by up to 84%; P < 0.006) groups. The aorta silicon concentration was also lower in the -Si group than in the +Si-feed group (by 65%; P = 0.025), but not compared with the +Si-water group. There were no differences in serum and aorta silicon concentrations between the silicon-replete groups. Body weights, tissue wet weights at necropsy, and structural, biomechanic, and morphologic properties of the aorta were not affected by dietary silicon; nor were the development of fatty lesions and serum lipid concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that dietary silicon has no effect on atherosclerosis development and vascular health in the apoE mouse model of diet-induced atherosclerosis, contrary to the reported findings in the cholesterol-fed rabbit model.