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Int J Exp Pathol. 2011 Oct;92(5):308-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2613.2011.00782.x. Epub 2011 Jul 14.

Dietary fenugreek and onion attenuate cholesterol gallstone formation in lithogenic diet-fed mice.

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Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, CSIR, Mysore, India.


An animal study was conducted to evaluate the antilithogenic effect of a combination of dietary fenugreek seeds and onion. Lithogenic conditions were induced in mice by feeding them a high (0.5%) cholesterol diet (HCD) for 10 weeks. Fenugreek (12%) and onion (2%) were included individually and in combination in this HCD. Fenugreek, onion and their combination reduced the incidence of cholesterol gallstones by 75%, 27% and 76%, respectively, with attendant reduction in total cholesterol content by 38-42%, 50-72% and 61-80% in serum, liver and bile respectively. Consequently, the cholesterol/phospholipid ratio was reduced significantly in serum, liver and bile. The cholesterol saturation index of bile was reduced from 4.14 to 1.38 by the combination of fenugreek and onion and to 2.33 by onion alone. The phospholipid and bile acid contents of the bile were also increased. Changes in the hepatic enzyme activities (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl Coenzyme A reductase, cholesterol-7α-hydroxylase and cholesterol-27-hydroxylase) induced by HCD were countered by fenugreek, onion and their combination. Hepatic lipid peroxides were reduced by 19-22% and 39-45% with fenugreek, onion and their combination included in the diet along with the HCD. Increased accumulation of fat in the liver and inflammation of the gallbladder membrane produced by HCD were reduced by fenugreek, onion and their combination. The antilithogenic influence was highest with fenugreek alone, and the presence of onion along with it did not further increase this effect. There was also no additive effect of the two spices in the recovery of antioxidant molecules or in the antioxidant enzyme activities.

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