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Lipids Health Dis. 2009 Oct 12;8:42. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-8-42.

A high oleic sunflower oil fatty acid esters of plant sterols mixed with dietary diacylglycerol reduces plasma insulin and body fat accumulation in Psammomys obesus.

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  • 1Diabetes Research Unit, Hadassah Medical Center and The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.



Metabolic syndrome is associated with subsequent development of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. It is characterized by reduced response to insulin, central obesity, and dyslipidemia. Intake of plant sterols (PS) has been shown to confer a healthier lipid profile and ameliorate cardiovascular disease risk factors in experimental animals and humans. In this study we used an animal model of type 2 diabetes to assess the effects of a preparation of PS esterified to high oleic sunflower oil fatty acids mixed with dietary diacylglycerol (PS-HOSO) on diabetic related metabolic parameters. Psammomys obesus (P. obesus) were fed high energy (HE) diet supplemented by either PS-HOSO or control oil. Following 4.5 weeks of intervention, animals were divided into fasting and non-fasting modes prior to outcome measurements. Glucose and insulin levels as well as blood lipid profile, body weight, and fat accumulation were evaluated in fasting and non-fasting modes.


P. obesus fed with a HE diet displayed a characteristic heterogeneity in their blood glucose and insulin levels with a subset group displaying type 2 diabetes symptoms. PS-HOSO treatment significantly reduced total cholesterol (24%, P < 0.001) and non-HDL cholesterol (34%, P < 0.01) compared to the control diet. Among fasting animals, body weight at end point and epididymal fat-to-liver weight ratio were significantly (P < 0.05 each) reduced (7% and 16%, respectively) compared to controls. Interestingly, fasting blood glucose levels were similar between groups, whereas plasma insulin level at end point was 44% lower in the PS-HOSO group compared to control group (P < 0.0001)


PS-HOSO supplementation to diabetes-prone gerbils counteracts the increase in body weight and epididymal fat accumulation, and also results in a drop in circulating insulin levels. These effects are pointing out that PS-HOSO may serve as a functional ingredient for metabolic syndrome or diabetic sufferers, which not only influences body weight, but also prevents or reverses insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia.

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