OBJECTIVE To assess the influence of two persimmon cultivars on some atherosclerosis indices in rats fed cholesterol (Chol)-containing diets. METHODS Persimmon cultivars "Fuyu" and "Jiro" as supplementation to rats' diets were investigated in vitro to compare the contents of their bioactive compounds (polyphenols, flavonoids, flavanols, tannins, carotenoids, and ascorbic acid) and antioxidant potentials. In the in vivo investigation, 36 male Wistar rats were randomly divided into six diet groups, each with six rats: control, control/Fuyu, control/Jiro, Chol, Chol/Fuyu, and Chol/Jiro. During a period of 47 d (42 d of feeding and 5-d adaptation before the experiment) of the trial, rats in the control group were fed a basal diet and two additional control groups (control/Fuyu and control/Jiro) a basal diet plus 5% of lyophilized Fuyu and Jiro, respectively. The Chol, Chol/Fuyu, and Chol/Jiro rat groups were fed a basal diet supplemented with 1% Chol (Chol group) and 1% Chol plus 5% lyophilized Fuyu (Chol/Fuyu group) and plus 5% lyophilized Jiro (Chol/Jiro group), respectively. After completion of the experiment, the rats were anesthetized using Narcotan (halothane) and sacrificed and the atherosclerotic lesions in the aorta were assessed. The obtained results of the investigation of all six groups were compared. Testing of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triacylglycerols, total cholesterol in the liver, electrophoretic patterns of liver tissue, and three-dimensional fluorescence of serum protein fractions was performed. RESULTS The polyphenols and tannins were significantly higher in the Fuyu cultivar (P<0.05). The antioxidant potential of persimmon Fuyu was higher than in the Jiro cultivar, but the difference was significant only according to the 2,2-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) assay (P<0.05). Supplementation of diets with 5% of the lyophilized Fuyu and Jiro hindered the increase in plasma lipids versus the Chol group (total cholesterol 19.4% and 9.5%, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol 25.6% and 13.1%, respectively, P<0.05) and hindered the decrease in plasma antioxidant activity versus the Chol group by 40.0% and 16.8% and by 39.6% and 11.3% for the ABTS and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl assays, respectively. The atherosclerotic lesions in the aortas of the Chol/Fuyu and Chol/Jiro groups were significantly less than in the Chol group (P<0.05). Electrophoresis of the proteins from rats' liver tissue showed changes in 14-kDa bands after persimmon supplementation. A shift in maximum wavelengths in three-dimensional fluorescence of serum protein fractions after persimmon supplementation was found in comparison with the control group and an increase in fluorescence intensity compared with the Chol groups. CONCLUSION The contents of polyphenols and tannins were significantly higher in the Fuyu cultivar (P<0.05). The antioxidant potentials of Fuyu were higher than those of the Jiro cultivar, but the difference was significant only according to the ABTS assay (P<0.05). Supplementation of 5% lyophilized Fuyu and Jiro to diets of rats fed Chol-containing diets 1) hindered the increase in plasma lipids levels and the decrease in plasma antioxidant activity and 2) significantly decreased the atherosclerotic lesions in the aorta (P<0.05). Electrophoretic patterns of liver tissue and fluorescence spectra can be used as additional biomarkers for determination of atherosclerosis indices.