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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2019 Jun 14. pii: S0939-4753(19)30229-7. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2019.06.001. [Epub ahead of print]

Differential effects of red yeast rice, Berberis aristata and Morus alba extracts on PCSK9 and LDL uptake.

Author information

1
Dipartimento di Scienze del Farmaco, Università degli Studi di Padova, Padua, Italy.
2
Dipartimento di Scienze Farmacologiche e Biomolecolari, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy.
3
Tianjin Key Laboratory for Modern Drug Delivery & High-Efficiency, School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China.
4
Dyslipidemia Center, A.S.S.T. Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda, Milan, Italy.
5
Dipartimento di Scienze Farmacologiche e Biomolecolari, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy; IRCCS Multimedica, Milan, Italy.
6
Dipartimento di Scienze Farmacologiche e Biomolecolari, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy. Electronic address: massimiliano.ruscica@unimi.it.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

The novel nutraceutical combination containing red yeast rice (monacolin K 3.3 mg), Berberis aristata cortex extract (Berberine 531.25 mg) and Morus alba leaves extract (1-deoxynojirimycin 4 mg) is effective in the management of elevated plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of the three components on proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), a key regulator of LDL receptor (LDLR) expression, in hepatocyte cell lines and to compare their effects on LDL cellular uptake.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

HepG2 and Huh7 cells were incubated with B. aristata cortex extract (BCE), red yeast rice (RYR) and M. alba leaves extract (MLE) alone or in combination for 24 h. RYR (50 μg/mL) increased PCSK9 protein expression (Western blot analysis and ELISA), PCSK9 mRNA (qPCR) and its promoter activity (luciferase reporter assay). BCE (40 μg/mL) reduced instead PCSK9 expression, mRNA levels and promoter activity. MLE determined a concentration-dependent reduction of PCSK9 at the mRNA and protein levels, with a maximal reduction at 1 mg/mL, without significant changes of PCSK9 promoter activity. MLE also downregulated the expression of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-3-glutaryl coenzyme A reductase and fatty acid synthase mRNA levels. The combination of RYR, BCE and MLE reduced the PCSK9 mRNA and protein levels, as well as the promoter activity. Finally, the single components and their combination induced LDL receptor and LDL uptake by the hepatocytes.

CONCLUSION:

The positive effect of MLE on PCSK9 supports the rationale of using the nutraceutical combination of RYR, BCE and MLE to control hyperlipidemic conditions.

KEYWORDS:

Berberis aristate; Monacolin K; Morus alba; PCSK9 and red yeast rice

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