, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 427–435 | Cite as

Effects of dietary phenolic compounds on tocopherol, cholesterol, and fatty acids in rats

  • Afaf Kamal-EldinEmail author
  • Jan Frank
  • Alexander Razdan
  • Siv Tengblad
  • Samar Basu
  • Bengt Vessby


The effects of the phenolic compounds butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), sesamin (S), curcumin (CU), and ferulic acid (FA) on plasma, liver, and lung concentrations of α- and γ-tocopherols (T), on plasma and liver cholesterol, and on the fatty acid composition of liver lipids were studied in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Test compounds were given to rats ad libitum for 4 wk at 4 g/kg diet, in a diet low but adequate in vitamin E (36 mg/kg of γ-T and 25 mg/kg of α-T) and containing 2 g/kg of cholesterol. BHT significantly reduced feed intake (P<0.05) and body weight and increased feed conversion ratio; S and BHT caused a significant enlargement of the liver (P<0.001), whereas CU and FA did not affect any of these parameters. The amount of liver lipids was significantly lowered by BHT (P<0.01) while the other substances reduced liver lipid concentrations but not significantly. Regarding effects on tocopherol levels, (i) feeding of BHT resulted in a significant elevation (P<0.001) of α-T in plasma, liver, and lung, while γ-T values remained unchanged; (ii) rats provided with the S diet had substantially higher γ-T levels (P<0.001) in plasma, liver, and lung, whereas α-T levels were not affected; (iii) administration of CU raised the concentration of α-T in the lung (P<0.01) but did not affect the plasma or liver values of any of the tocopherols; and (iv) FA had no effect on the levels of either homolog in the plasma, liver, or lung. The level of an unknown substance in the liver was significantly reduced by dietary BHT (P<0.001). BHT was the only compound that tended to increase total cholesterol (TC) in plasma, due to an elevation of cholesterol in the very low density lipoprotein + low density lipoprotein (VLDL+LDL) fraction. S and FA tended to lower plasma total and VLDL+LDL cholesterol concentrations, but the effect for CU was statistically significant (P<0.05). FA increased plasma high density lipoprotein cholesterol while the other compounds reduced it numerially, but not significantly. BHT, CU, and S reduced cholesterol levels in the liver TC (P<0.001) and percentages of TC in liver lipids (P<0.05). With regard to the fatty acid composition of liver lipids, S increased the n-6/n-3 and the 18∶3/20∶5 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) ratios, and BHT lowered total monounsaturated fatty acids and increased total PUFA (n−6+n−3). The effects of CU and FA on fatty acids were not highly significant. These results suggest some in vivo interactions between these phenolic compounds and tocopherols that may increase the bioavailability of vitamin E and decrease cholesterol in rats.


Curcumin Ferulic Acid High Density Lipoprotein Liver Lipid Sesamin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



butylated hydroxytoluene




ferulic acid


general linear model


high density lipoprotein


high-performance liquid chromatography


low density lipoprotein


polyunsaturated fatty acid






total cholesterol




tocopherol transfer protein


very low density lipoprotein


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Copyright information

© AOCS Press 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Afaf Kamal-Eldin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jan Frank
    • 1
  • Alexander Razdan
    • 1
  • Siv Tengblad
    • 2
  • Samar Basu
    • 2
  • Bengt Vessby
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Food ScienceSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences/GeriatricsUniversity of UppsalaUppsalaSweden

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