Researchers have developed a genetically modified tomato that produces a certain peptide which will lower the plaque buildup in the arteries of mice. This could also work in humans.
The researchers presented their findings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012. The GM tomato produces 6F, a small peptide that mimics the action of ApoA-1, the chief protein in high density lipoprotein (HDL). They used this in mice that that were unable to remove low density lipoprotein and fed them a high-fat diet.
With 2.2% of the rodent’s diet comprised of the GM tomato, the researchers found that the mice had lower levels of blood inflammation, higher activity of the anti-oxidant enzyme paraoxonase, boosted levels of high density lipoproteins, decreased lysophosphatidic acid and less atherosclerotic plaque.
“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 of the drug,” said senior study author Dr. Alan M. Fogelman.