Oryzanol decreases cholesterol absorption and aortic fatty streaks in hamsters


Oryzanol is a class of nonsaponifiable lipids of rice bran oil (RBO). More specifically, oryzanol is a group of ferulic acid esters of triterpene alcohol and plant sterols. In experiment 1, the mechanisms of the cholesterol-lowering action of oryzanol were investigated in 32 hamsters made hypercholesterolemic by feeding chow-based diets containing 5% coconut oil and 0.1% cholesterol with or without 1% oryzanol for 7 wk. Relative to the control animals, oryzanol treatment resulted in a significant reduction in plasma total cholesterol (TC) (28%, P<0.01) and the sum of IDL-C, LDL-C, and VLDL-C (NON-HDL-C) (34%, P<0.01). In addition, the oryzanol-treated animals also exhibited a 25% reduction in percent cholesterol absorption vs. control animals. Endogenous cholesterol synthesis, as measured by the liver and intestinal HMG-CoA reductase activities, showed no difference between the two groups. To determine whether a lower dose of oryzanol was also efficacious and to measure aortic fatty streaks, 19 hamsters in experiment 2 were divided into two groups and fed for 10 wk chow-based diets containing 0.05% cholesterol and 10% coconut oil (w/w) (control) and the control diet plus 0.5% oryzanol (oryzanol). Relative to the control, oryzanol-treated hamsters had reduced plasma TC (44%, P<0.001), NON-HDL-C (57%, P<0.01), and triglyceride (TG) (46%, P<0.05) concentrations. Despite a 12% decrease in high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (P<0.01), the oryzanol-treated animals maintained a more optimum NON-HDL-C/HDL-C profile (1.1±0.4) than the contorl (2.5±1.4; P<0.0075). Aortic fatty streak formation, so defined by the degree of accumulation of Oil Red O-stained macrophage-derived foam cells, was reduced 67% (P<0.01) in the oryzanol-treated animals. From these studies, it is concluded that a constituent of the nonsaponifiable lipids of RBO, oryzanol, is at least partially responsible for the cholesterol-lowering action of RBO. In addition, the cholesterol-lowering action of oryzanol was associated with significant reductions in aortic fatty streak formation.

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high density lipoprotein cholesterol

HMG-CoA reductase:

3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase


intermediate density lipoprotein cholesterol


low density lipoprotein cholesterol


the sum of IDL-C, LDL-C, and VLDL-C


phosphate-buffered saline


rice bran oil


total cholesterol




thin-layer chromatography


very low density lipoprotein cholesterol


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Correspondence to Robert J. Nicolosi.

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Rong, N., Ausman, L.M. & Nicolosi, R.J. Oryzanol decreases cholesterol absorption and aortic fatty streaks in hamsters. Lipids 32, 303–309 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11745-997-0037-9

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  • High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol
  • Plant Sterol
  • Plasma Total Cholesterol
  • Oryzanol
  • Triterpene Alcohol