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Curr Med Chem. 2018 Jun 22. doi: 10.2174/0929867325666180622151438. [Epub ahead of print]

Phytosterols and inflammation.

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Cardiovascular Program ICCC, Institut de Recerca del' Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, IIB-Sant Pau Barcelona. Spain.


Besides the well-characterized effect of foods and supplements enriched with plant sterols/stanols on serum LDL-C concentrations, evidence is now emerging that phytosterols exert beneficial effects on non-lipid variables such as inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, coagulation parameters and endothelial function. This makes sterols and stanols an attractive alternative for dietary interventions in cardiovascular disease prevention, particularly in populations at low or medium risk. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge derived from experimental studies and human data on the anti-inflammatory effects of phytosterols/stanols and their relevance in promoting atheroprotection and preventing cardiovascular disease. The anti-inflammatory effects induced by plant sterols/stanols have been demonstrated in in vitro studies and in experimental animal models. However, not all the beneficial effects seen at an experimental level have translated into clinical benefit. Indeed, clinical studies that evaluate the association between phytosterols consumption and inflammatory variables (CRP and cytokines) are inconsistent and have not yet provided a solid answer. Plant sterols have been proposed as useful adjuncts to statin therapy to further reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, there is limited available data and more research needs to be done.


CRP; LDL; cholesterol; cytokines; inflammation; oxidative stress; phytosterols

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