Possible mechanisms through which dietary pectin influences fibrin network architecture in hypercholesterolaemic subjects

Frederick Johannes Veldman*, Chenicheri H. Nair, Hester H. Vorster, Willem J.H. Vermaak, Johann C. Jerling, Welma Oosthuizen, Christine S. Venter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


It is suspected that not only fibrinogen concentration but also the quality of fibrin networks may contribute to cardiovascular risk. Evidence is accumulating that a 'prudent' diet may protect against diseases associated with raised clotting factors. The effect of diet on fibrinogen is, however, still controversial. In a previous study performed in our laboratory, it was shown that dietary pectin influences fibrin network architecture in hypercholesterolaemic men without causing any changes in fibrinogen concentration. To elucidate the possible mechanisms, it was necessary to study the possibility that pectin may itself have indirect effects on fibrin network architecture. Pectin is fermented in the gastrointestinal tract to acetate, propionate, and butyrate. In humans, only acetate reaches the circulation beyond the liver. This investigation primarily examined the possibility that pectin may, through acetate, influence fibrin network architecture in vivo. The effects of pectin and acetate supplementation in hypercholesterolaemic subjects were compared. Furthermore, this study also aimed at describing the possible in vitro effects of acetate on fibrin network architecture. Two groups of 10 male hyperlipidaemic volunteers each received a pectin (15 g/day) or acetate (6.8 g/day) supplement for 4 weeks. Acetate supplementation did not cause a significant change in plasma fibrinogen levels. As in the pectin group, significant differences were found in the characteristics of fibrin networks developed in plasma after 4 weeks of acetate supplementation. Fibrin networks were more permeable (from 213±76 to 307±81 x 1011 cm2), had lower tensile strength (from 23±3 to 32±9% compaction), and were more lyseable (from 252±11 to 130±15 minutes). These results strongly suggest that the effect of pectin on network architecture could partially be mediated by acetate. Progressive amounts of acetate were used in vitro to investigate the possibility that acetate may be directly responsible for changes that occurred in fibrin network architecture in the plasma medium. Results indicated that acetate influenced fibrin network architecture directly. From the results, it seems highly possible that acetate may be responsible in part for the beneficial effects of pectin supplementation in vivo. It is evident that pectin or acetate supplementation can be useful during the treatment or prevention of some clinical manifestations, especially those associated with raised total cholesterol and possibly also plasma fibrinogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
JournalThrombosis Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetate
  • Cholesterol
  • Dietary fiber
  • Fibrin network architecture
  • Fibrinogen
  • Thrombosis and haemostasis


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