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European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 379–388 | Cite as

Capsaicinoids lower plasma cholesterol and improve endothelial function in hamsters

  • Yin Tong Liang
  • Xiao-Yu Tian
  • Jing Nan Chen
  • Cheng Peng
  • Ka Ying Ma
  • Yuanyuan Zuo
  • Rui Jiao
  • Ye Lu
  • Yu Huang
  • Zhen-Yu Chen
Original Contribution

Abstract

Purpose

Capsaicinoids are the active compounds in chili pepper. The present study investigated the effect of capsaicinoids on plasma lipids, functionality of aorta including atherosclerotic plaque development, cholesterol absorption biomarker, fecal sterol excretion, and gene expression of major receptors, enzymes, and transporters involved in cholesterol metabolism.

Methods

Hamsters were divided into five groups and fed a high-cholesterol diet containing 0 % (CON), 0.010 % (LD), 0.015 % (MD), 0.020 % (HD), and 0.030 % (VD) capsaicinoids, respectively, for 6 weeks. Plasma lipids were measured using the enzymatic kits, and the gene expression of transporters, enzymes, and receptors involved in cholesterol absorption and metabolism was quantified using the quantitative PCR. Endothelial function was assessed by measuring the acetylcholine-induced endothelium-dependent relaxations in aorta.

Results

Capsaicinoids reduced plasma total cholesterol, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triacylglycerols with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol being unaffected. All four experimental groups had a decrease in the atherosclerotic plaque compared with CON. Dietary capsaicinoids increased the fecal excretion of total acidic sterols possibly mediated by up-regulation of cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase and down-regulation of liver X receptor alpha. Plasma sterol analysis demonstrated that capsaicinoids decreased the ratio of plasma campesterol/cholesterol, suggesting they decreased cholesterol absorption. Capsaicinoids could improve the endothelium-dependent relaxations and reduce the endothelium-dependent contractions by inhibiting the gene expression of COX-2. However, no dose-dependent effect of capsaicinoids on these parameters was seen.

Conclusion

Capsaicinoids were beneficial in improving lipoprotein profile and aortic function in hamsters fed a high-cholesterol diet.

Keywords

Cholesterol Capsaicin Capsaicinoids Aorta CYP7A1 COX-2 Vascular reactivity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was supported by a grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yin Tong Liang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiao-Yu Tian
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jing Nan Chen
    • 5
  • Cheng Peng
    • 1
  • Ka Ying Ma
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yuanyuan Zuo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rui Jiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ye Lu
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yu Huang
    • 3
    • 4
  • Zhen-Yu Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Food and Nutritional Sciences Programme, School of Life SciencesThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong, China
  2. 2.CUHK Shenzhen Research InstituteShenzhenChina
  3. 3.Institute of Vascular Medicine, Li Ka Shing Institute of Health SciencesThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong, China
  4. 4.School of Biomedical SciencesThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong, China
  5. 5.Kwong Living Trust Food Safety and Analysis Laboratory, Department of BiologyHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong, China

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