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Atherosclerosis. 1992 May;94(1):79-85.

Inhibition of cholesterol synthesis in vitro by extracts and isolated compounds prepared from garlic and wild garlic.

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  • 1Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology, University of Munich, FRG.


Using a modified liver homogenate model to assay for the inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, different garlic and wild garlic extracts as well as pure compounds isolated from them were investigated for their influence on cholesterol synthesis. Chloroform and acetone/chloroform extracts of garlic and wild garlic inhibited cholesterol synthesis 44-52% at a concentration of 166 micrograms/ml, while the 5 individual sulfur-containing compounds ajoene, methylajoene, allicin, 2-vinyl-4H-1,3-dithiin and diallydisulfide inhibited cholesterol synthesis by 37-72% (10(-3) M corresponding to 234, 208, 162, 144, 146 micrograms/ml, respectively). Ajoene, 2-vinyl-4H-1,3-dithiin and allicin show IC50 values of 6.4, 7.2 and 9.4 x 10(-4) M, respectively. The results demonstrate that garlic and wild garlic may reduce serum cholesterol levels primarily by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis if taken in sufficient amount and that this effect arises from a mixture of multiple compounds from the sulfur-containing class of thiosulfinates, ajoenes and dithiines. Wild garlic extracts showed nearly identical efficiency to garlic extracts.

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