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Hypolipidemic effect of dietary water-soluble protein extract from chicken: impact on genes regulating hepatic lipid and bile acid metabolism



Amount and type of dietary protein have been shown to influence blood lipids. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of a water-soluble fraction of chicken protein (CP) on plasma and hepatic lipid metabolism in normolipidemic rats.


Male Wistar rats were fed either a control diet with 20 % w/w casein as the protein source, or an experimental diet where casein was replaced with CP at 6, 14, or 20 % w/w for 4 weeks.


Rats fed CP had markedly reduced levels of triacylglycerols (TAG) and cholesterol in both plasma and liver, accompanied by stimulated hepatic mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation and carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 activity in the 20 % CP group compared to the control group. In addition, reduced activities and gene expression of hepatic enzymes involved in lipogenesis were observed. The gene expression of sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor 1 was reduced in the 20 % CP-fed rats, whereas gene expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha was increased. Moreover, 6, 14, and 20 % CP-fed rats had significantly increased free carnitine and acylcarnitine plasma levels compared to control rats. The plasma methionine/glycine and lysine/arginine ratios were reduced in 20 % CP-treated rats. The mRNA level of ATP-binding cassette 4 was increased in the 20 % CP group, accompanied by the increased level of plasma bile acids.


The present data suggest that the hypotriglyceridemic property of a water-soluble fraction of CP is primarily due to effects on TAG synthesis and mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. The cholesterol-lowering effect by CP may be linked to increased bile acid formation.

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Fig. 4



ATP-binding cassette


Acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase alpha


Angiotensin-converting enzyme


Alanine aminotransferase


Aspartate aminotransferase


Chicken protein


Carnitine palmitoyltransferase


Coefficient of variation


Fatty acid synthase


Glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase


High-density lipoprotein

HMG-CoA reductase:

3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase

HMG-CoA synthase:

3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A synthase


Low-density lipoprotein


Monounsaturated fatty acid


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease


Nonesterified fatty acid


Phospholipid phosphatidylcholine




Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha


Polyunsaturated fatty acid


Saturated fatty acid


Sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor




Type 2 diabetes mellitus


Very-low-density lipoprotein


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We thank Kari Williams, Liv Kristine Øysæd, Randi Sandvik, Kari Helland Mortensen, Svein Krüger and Torunn Eide for technical assistance, and Eline Milde and the staff at the Laboratory Animal Facility, University of Bergen, for care of the animals. This project has been founded by the University of Bergen through the Clinical Nutrition Program and the company Norilia AS.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Rita Vik.

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Vik, R., Bjørndal, B., Bohov, P. et al. Hypolipidemic effect of dietary water-soluble protein extract from chicken: impact on genes regulating hepatic lipid and bile acid metabolism. Eur J Nutr 54, 193–204 (2015).

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  • Chicken protein
  • Lipogenesis
  • β-Oxidation