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Physiol Res. 2007;56(4):433-42. Epub 2006 Aug 22.

Effect of pectin and amidated pectin on cholesterol homeostasis and cecal metabolism in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet.

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Research Institute of Animal Production, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic.


Two experiments were performed to compare the effect of pectin and its hydrophobic derivatives on homeostasis of cholesterol and cecal metabolism in male young rats. Control rats were fed a diet supplemented with palm fat and cholesterol (50 and 10 g/kg, respectively). Rats of other groups were fed the same diet containing citrus pectin or octadecylpectinamide (60 g/kg). Diets were fed for 4 weeks. In experiment I, pectinamide of lower degree of amidation (30 %) increased serum HDL cholesterol from 1.20 to 1.43 micromol/ml (p>0.05) at the expense of other cholesterol fractions. In experiment II, pectinamide of a higher degree of amidation (53 %) significantly decreased total serum cholesterol from 2.08 to 1.67 micromol/ml. Amidated pectins at both levels of substitution significantly decreased hepatic concentrations of cholesterol and fat. In both experiments the relative weight of cecum in the pectinamide group was significantly lower than in pectin group. The highest cecal concentrations of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) were found in rats fed a diet with pectin (133.2 and 129.3 micromol/g in experiment I and II, respectively). In other groups, cecal SCFA was significantly (pectinamide groups) or non-significantly (controls) lower. In wet feces, SCFA concentrations were higher and butyrate molar proportions lower than in corresponding cecal contents. Pectinamide of a lower or higher degree of substitution significantly increased fecal content of cholesterol from 18.5 and 17.3 micromol/g in controls to 31.8 and 28.0 micromol/g, respectively. Corresponding concentrations of coprostanol were decreased. Effects of pectin on cholesterol homeostasis were absent or marginal. Histological examination revealed that hepatic tissue of control and pectin-fed rats was infiltrated with lipids. The Sudan black-positive material was absent in the liver of rats fed pectinamides. No pathological changes of liver tissue were apparent. In summary, hydrophobic amidated pectins significantly altered cholesterol homeostasis in rats and might be considered as a clinically effective hypocholesterolemic agent. Low cecal SCFA concentrations in rats fed pectinamides suggest that amidation of pectin had decreased its fermentability.

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