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Life Sci. 1999;64(1):83-91.

Improvement in cholesterol metabolism in mice given chronic treatment of taurine and fed a high-fat diet.

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Medicinal Research Laboratories, Taisho Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Ohmiya, Saitama, Japan.


The effects of chronic treatment of taurine on hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis were examined in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet containing 15% fat and 1.25% cholesterol. Taurine was dissolved in drinking water at 1% (w/v) and was given to mice ad libitum during 6 months-feeding of a high-fat diet. Hypercholesterolemia occurred and lipid accumulation on the aortic valve was evident. Taurine treatment lowered serum LDL + VLDL cholesterol by 44% in mice fed a high-fat diet, while it elevated serum HDL cholesterol by 25%. As a result, the atherogenic index, the ratio of HDL to LDL + VLDL was markedly improved. Cholesterol content in the liver also decreased by 19% with taurine. Similar tendencies were seen in mice fed regular chow, but the changes were not significant. The area of aortic lipid accumulation, which served as an index of atherosclerosis, was reduced by 20% with taurine. In the liver, taurine doubled the activity of cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase. These observations, together with prior findings, suggest that the cholesterol-lowering action of taurine may relate to the increased conversion of cholesterol to bile acids via stimulation of cholesterol 7a-hydroxylase activity. Thus, chronic treatment of high-fat mice with taurine improves the abnormal profile of the serum lipoproteins, and thereby retards the progression of atherosclerosis.

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