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Atherosclerosis. 2009 Jul;205(1):144-50. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.12.004. Epub 2008 Dec 9.

Dietary phospholipid-rich dairy milk extract reduces hepatomegaly, hepatic steatosis and hyperlipidemia in mice fed a high-fat diet.

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Nutrition and Metabolism Group, Heart Research Institute, Camperdown, NSW, Sydney, Australia.


Recent studies have suggested that milk and certain dairy food components have the potential to protect against cardiovascular disease. In order to determine whether the addition of milk-derived phospholipids to the diet results in an improvement in metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, we studied four groups (n=10) of C57BL/6 mice that were fed: (1) a normal non-purified diet (N); (2) the normal non-purified diet supplemented with phospholipid-rich dairy milk extract (PLRDME, 2.5% by wt) (NPL); (3) a high-fat semi-purified diet (HF) containing 21% butterfat+0.15% cholesterol by wt; or (4) HF supplemented with 2.5% by wt PLRDME (HFPL). Dietary PLRDME supplementation did not have a significant effect on metabolic parameters in mice fed the N diet. In contrast, in high-fat fed mice, PLRDME caused a significant decrease in: (a) liver wt (1.57+/-0.06 g vs. 1.20+/-0.04 g, P<0.001), (b) total liver lipid (255+/-22 mg vs. 127+/-13 mg, P<0.001, (c) liver triglyceride (TG) and total cholesterol (TC) 236+/-25 micromol/g vs. 130+/-8 micromol/g (P<0.01), 40+/-7 micromol/g vs. 21+/-2 micromol/g (P<0.05), respectively); and serum lipids (TG: 1.4+/-0.1 mmol/L vs. 1.1+/-0.1 mmol/L, P=0.01; TC: 4.6+/-0.2 mmol/L vs. 3.6+/-0.2 mmol/L, P<0.001; and PL: 3.3+/-0.1 mmol/L vs. 2.6+/-0.1 mmol/L, P<0.01). These data indicate that dietary PLRDME has a beneficial effect on hepatomegaly, hepatic steatosis and elevated serum lipid levels in mice fed a high-fat diet, providing evidence that PLRDME might be of therapeutic value in human subjects as a hepatoprotective or cardioprotective nutraceutical.

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