European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 48, Issue 7, pp 387–394 | Cite as

Hypocholesterolemic effect of Nostoc commune var. sphaeroides Kützing, an edible blue-green alga

  • Heather E. Rasmussen
  • Kara R. Blobaum
  • Elliot D. Jesch
  • Chai Siah Ku
  • Young-Ki Park
  • Fan Lu
  • Timothy P. Carr
  • Ji-Young Lee
Original Contribution

Abstract

Background

Intake of an edible blue-green alga Nostoc commune var. sphaeroides Kützing (N. Commune) has been shown to lower plasma total cholesterol concentration, but the mechanisms behind the hypocholesterolemic effect have not been elucidated.

Aim of the study

To elucidate the mechanisms underlying the cholesterol-lowering effect of N. commune in mice.

Methods

Male C57BL/6J mice were fed the AIN-93 M diet supplemented with 0 or 5% (wt/wt) dried N. Commune for 4 weeks. Lipid levels in the plasma and liver, intestinal cholesterol absorption and fecal sterol excretion were measured. Expression of hepatic and intestinal genes involved in cholesterol metabolism was evaluated by quantitative realtime PCR.

Results

N. commune supplementation significantly reduced total plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations by ~ 20% compared to controls. Intestinal cholesterol absorption was significantly decreased, while fecal neutral sterol output was significantly increased in N. commune-fed mice. mRNA levels of the cholesterol transporters such as Niemann Pick C1 Like 1, scavenger receptor class B type 1, ATP-binding cassette transporters G5 and A1 in small intestine were not significantly different between two groups. Hepatic lipid contents including total cholesterol, triglyceride and free cholesterol in N. commune-fed mice were not significantly altered. However, the expression of cholesterol modulating genes including sterol regulatory element binding protein-2 and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase were significantly increased in mice fed N. commune.

Conclusions

N. commune supplementation exerted a hypocholesterolemic effect in mice, largely in part, by reducing intestinal cholesterol absorption and promoting fecal neutral sterol excretion.

Keywords

Blue-green algae Nostoc commune var. sphaeroides Kützing Cholesterol metabolism Cholesterol absorption 

Abbreviations

N. commune

Nostoc commune var. sphaeroides Kützing

HMGR

3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase

LDLR

Low-density lipoprotein receptor

FAS

Fatty acid synthase

CYP7A1

Cholesterol-7α-hydroxylase

SREBP-1c

Sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c

SREBP-2

Sterol regulatory element binding protein-2

SR-B1

Scavenger receptor class B, type 1

NPC1L1

Niemann Pick C1-Like 1

ABCA1

ATP-binding cassette transporter A1

ABCG5

ATP-binding cassette transporter G5

GAPDH

Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Hatch Act and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Research Council Interdisciplinary grant to J-Y Lee, by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Research Division Honors Student Undergraduate Research to K. R. Blobaum and by University of Nebraska-Lincoln UCARE Award to C. S. Ku.

Conflict of interest statement

None declared.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather E. Rasmussen
    • 1
  • Kara R. Blobaum
    • 1
  • Elliot D. Jesch
    • 1
  • Chai Siah Ku
    • 1
  • Young-Ki Park
    • 1
  • Fan Lu
    • 2
  • Timothy P. Carr
    • 1
  • Ji-Young Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition and Health SciencesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Algaen CorporationWinston-SalemUSA

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