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J Nutr. 2004 Oct;134(10):2611-6.

Milk sphingomyelin is more effective than egg sphingomyelin in inhibiting intestinal absorption of cholesterol and fat in rats.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.


We reported previously that egg sphingomyelin (SM) inhibits the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and fat in rats. This study was conducted to compare the relative efficiencies of milk and egg SM in inhibiting intestinal absorption of cholesterol and other lipids. Adult male rats with lymph cannulae were infused at 3.0 mL/h for 8 h via a duodenal catheter with a lipid emulsion (451.7 micromol triolein, 20.7 micromol cholesterol, 33.3 kBq (14)C-cholesterol, 3.1 micromol alpha-tocopherol, and 396.0 micromol sodium taurocholate in 24 mL PBS, pH, 6.5), without SM (controls), or with 80.0 micromol egg SM or milk SM. The lymphatic absorptions of (14)C-cholesterol were significantly lower in rats infused with milk SM (19.5 +/- 1.4% dose) and egg SM (24.4 +/- 1.9% dose) than in those infused with no SM (37.6 +/- 1.8% dose). In addition, the lymphatic outputs of fatty acids and phospholipid were significantly lowered by milk and egg SM. Similarly, the absorption of alpha-tocopherol also was decreased by milk SM (13.6 +/- 1.7% dose) and egg SM (18.3 +/- 2.4% dose) compared with controls (27.0 +/- 1.8% dose). Total lymphatic SM output was not affected by egg SM, but markedly decreased by milk SM, relative to controls. The results indicate that both milk and egg SM markedly inhibit the absorption of cholesterol, fat, and other lipids. However, milk SM is a more potent inhibitor than egg SM. The strong inhibitory effect of milk SM may be associated with the higher degree of saturation and longer chain length of its fatty acyl groups, which may slow the rate of luminal lipolysis, micellar solubilization, and transfer of micellar lipids to the enterocyte.

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