A Green Tea Catechin Extract Upregulates the Hepatic Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor in Rats
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Green tea extracts have hypocholesterolaemic properties in epidemiological and animal intervention studies. Upregulation of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor may be one mechanism to explain this as it is the main way cholesterol is removed from the circulation. This study aimed to determine if a green tea extract could upregulate the hepatic LDL receptor in vivo in the rat. A green tea extract (GTE) enriched in its anti-oxidant constituents, the catechins, was fed to rats (n = 6) at concentrations of either 0, 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0% (w/w) mixed in with their normal chow along with 0.25% (w/w) cholesterol for 12 days. Administration of the GTE had no effect on plasma total or LDL cholesterol concentrations but high-density lipoprotein significantly increased (41%; p < 0.05). Interestingly, there was a significant increase in LDL receptor binding activity (2.7-fold) and LDL receptor protein (3.4-fold) in the 2% (w/w) treatment group compared to controls. There were also significant reductions in liver total and unesterified cholesterol (40%). Administration of the GTE significantly reduced cholesterol absorption (24%) but did not affect cholesterol synthesis. These results show that, despite no effect on plasma cholesterol, the GTE upregulated the LDL receptor in vivo. This appears to be via a reduction in liver cholesterol concentration and suggests that the green tea extract was able to increase the efflux of cholesterol from liver cells.
KeywordsGreen tea LDL receptor Cholesterol synthesis Cholesterol absorption Lathosterol Phytosterols
We would like to thank the University of Adelaide for providing Christina Bursill with a postgraduate scholarship and additional funding.
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