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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1998 Feb 23;1390(3):237-44.

Effects of variable dietary sitostanol concentrations on plasma lipid profile and phytosterol metabolism in hamsters.

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School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, MacDonald Campus 21, 171 Lakeshore Road, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada.


To examine how variable sitostanol (SI) levels in phytosterol-supplemented diets influence plasma and hepatic lipid concentrations, fifty hamsters were divided into five groups and fed semipurified diets containing 0.25% (w/w) cholesterol for 45 days ad libitum. Four groups were fed this diet with 1% (w/w) phytosterol mixtures which contained 0.01% (w/w) SI derived from soybean, 0.2% (w/w) SI derived from tall oil, 0.2% (w/w) synthetic SI mixture (SIM) and 1% (w/w) pure SI, respectively. A control group did not receive phytosterols. Dietary SI supplementation at 1% (w/w) decreased total and non-apolipoprotein-A cholesterol levels in plasma by 34% (P=0.001) and 55% (P=0.04), respectively, whereas mean plasma total cholesterol level in the 0.2% (w/w) SI group was 23% (P=0.001) lower than that of the control group. Conversely, plasma lipid profile in hamsters fed 1 or 0.2% (w/w) SI did not differ from the 0.01% (w/w) SI group. Liver weights were 15 and 20% (P=0.012) higher in the control group compared with those fed 0.01% and 1% (w/w) SI, respectively, while the hepatic cholesterol content in the control group was greater (P<0.0001) than that of all other groups. Plasma campesterol levels were higher (P=0.04) in the 0.01% and 0.2% (w/w) SI fed groups than in the control, 0.2% (w/w) SIM and 1% (w/w) SI groups. Hepatic sitosterol content was elevated (P=0.002) in the SIM fed group compared to other groups. We conclude that dietary SI effect is proportional to its concentration in phytosterol mixtures and in the diet. Dietary SI lowered plasma cholesterol levels at concentrations higher than 0.2% (w/w) in hamsters.

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