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Atherosclerosis. 2008 Nov;201(1):101-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.03.008. Epub 2008 Mar 16.

Co-administration of berberine and plant stanols synergistically reduces plasma cholesterol in rats.

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Institute for Nutrisciences and Health, National Research Council of Canada, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PE, Canada C1A 4P3.


The objective of the present study was to determine the beneficial effects and the safety of oral administration of the combination of berberine (BBR) and plant stanols (PS) on plasma lipid profiles in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Four groups of animals were fed a cornstarch-casein-sucrose-based high-cholesterol (2%, w:w) and high-fat (27.5%) diet. Three treatment groups were supplemented with either BBR (100mgkg(-1)bodyweightd(-1)), PS (1% in diet, w:w), or the combination of both (BBRPS). After 6 wk, animals were sacrificed and followed immediately with the collection of blood and organ samples. Lipid analysis revealed that PS lowered plasma total cholesterol (T-C) by 18% (p=0.067) and non-HDL-cholesterol (non-HDL-C) by 29% (p=0.013) as compared with the control, while BBR had no effect on both T-C and non-HDL-C. The combination treatment of BBRPS reduced plasma T-C by 41% (p=0.0002) and non-HDL-C by 59% (p<0.0001) compared to the control group. BBR reduced plasma TG levels by 31% at a marginal significance relative to the control (p=0.054), whereas PS had no effect. BBRPS showed an additive effect of BBR and PS on plasma TAG. PS and BBRPS both decreased liver cholesterol (p=0.0027 and 0.0002, respectively). BBR and PS, either alone or in combination, did not show any toxic effects as assessed by plasma concentration of hepatic biochemical parameters. These results demonstrate that BBR and PS, when combined, synergistically lower plasma cholesterol levels and significantly reduce liver cholesterol, without the observation of any toxic effects.

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