Serum and aortic levels of phytosterols in rabbits fed sitosterol or sitostanol ester preparations
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Campesterol is present in all the phytosterol-containing dietary hypocholesterolemic agents in current use. Campesterol is absorbed more efficiently than sitosterol, and the question of its possible atherogenicity has been raised. To test this possibility, rabbits were fed either a semipurified, cholesterol-free diet that has been shown to be atherogenic for this species or the same diet augmented with 0.5 g of phytosterol-rich diet preparations (spreads) containing either sitosterol or sitostanol. The diets contained 295 mg phytosterol per 100 g. After 60 d, serum cholesterol levels in the two phytosterol groups were 78±4 mg/dL (sitosterol) and 76±4 mg/dL (sitostanol), respectively. The serum cholesterol level of rabbits fed the control diet was 105±8 mg/dL. Serum campesterol (μg/mL) levels were higher than sitosterol or sitostanol levels in all groups. Aortic phytosterols were present in nanogram quantities compared to cholesterol, which was present in microgram quantities. The ratio of campesterol/sitosterol/sitostanol in the aortas was: control, 1.00∶0.43∶0.02; sitosterol, 1∶00∶0.32∶0.01; sitostanol, 1∶00∶0.34∶0.11. Aortic campesterol was present at 4% the concentration of aortic cholesterol, sitosterol at 1.4%, and sitostanol at 0.14%. Aortic lesions were not present in any of the animals.
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