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J Nutr. 2002 Jan;132(1):5-10.

Hawthorn fruit is hypolipidemic in rabbits fed a high cholesterol diet.

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Department of Biochemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong, The People's Republic of China.


The present study examined the hypolipidemic activity of hawthorn fruit. New Zealand white rabbits were fed one of three diets, a reference diet with no cholesterol added (NC), a high cholesterol diet (1 g/100 g, HC) and a HC diet supplemented with 2 g/100 g hawthorn fruit powder (HC-H). After 12 wk, serum total cholesterol (TC) and triacylglycerols (TG) were 23.4 and 22.2% lower, respectively, in the hawthorn fruit group compared with the HC rabbits (P < 0.05). Hawthorn supplementation led to 50.6% less cholesterol accumulation in aorta (P < 0.05) and 23-95% greater excretion of neutral and acidic sterols (P < 0.05). Supplementation of hawthorn fruit did not affect the activities of hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methyl glutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA-R) or cholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase (CH) but it suppressed the activity of intestinal acyl CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT, P < 0.05). The results suggest that the mechanism by which hawthorn fruit decreases serum cholesterol involves, at least in part, the inhibition of cholesterol absorption mediated by down-regulation of intestinal ACAT activity.

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