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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: USDA National Nutrient Databank for Food Composition

Location: Nutrient Data Laboratory

Title: (-) Epicatechin regulates blood lipids and attenuates hepatic steatosis in rats fed high fat diet

Author
item Hui, Cheng
item Xu, Na
item Zhao, Wenxia
item Su, Jingling
item Liang, Menru
item Xie, Zhongwen
item Wu, Xianli
item Li, Qinglin

Submitted to: Molecular Nutrition and Food Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/17/2017
Publication Date: 7/21/2017
Citation: Hui, C., Xu, N., Zhao, W., Su, J., Liang, M., Xie, Z., Wu, X., Li, Q. 2017. (-) Epicatechin regulates blood lipids and attenuates hepatic steatosis in rats fed high fat diet. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201700303.

Interpretive Summary: (-)-Epicatechin (EC) is a bioactive compound found in cocoa, green tea and a variety of other plant foods. Recent studies have shown that EC and foods rich in EC have shown protective effects for cardiovascular diseases. This study was designed to test if EC could alter blood lipids and prevent lipid accumulation in liver, and to explore the underlying mechanisms in a high-fat, high-cholesterol fed rat model. The results showed that EC significantly decreased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride, and increased HDL cholesterol, in hyperlipidemic rats. At all three doses, EC alleviated liver fat accumulation. EC also reduced lipid peroxidation, inhibited the pro-inflammatory cytokines, and lowered serum AST and ALT (two sensitive indicators of liver damage). The potential molecular mechanisms of EC underlying these effects were proposed to be associated to lipid metabolic related genes. The results shed light on the potential role of EC as a promising natural product in preventing hyperlipidemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Technical Abstract: (-)-Epicatechin (EC) is a natural flavanol monomer found in cocoa, green tea and a variety of other plant foods. Recent studies have shown that EC and foods rich in EC exerted vascular protective effects. In this study, effects of EC on blood lipids and hepatic steatosis, and the underlying mechanisms were investigated. A hyperlipidemic rat model was induced by feeding high-fat, high-cholesterol diet for 12 weeks. EC was then administrated to the animals by gavage at doses of 10 mg/kg, 20 mg/kg, 40 mg/kg body weight (BW) for 12 weeks. Statin drug simvastatin was included as a positive control. The results showed that EC significantly decreased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride, and increased HDL cholesterol, in hyperlipidemic rats. At all three doses, EC alleviated liver vacuolar degeneration and fat accumulation. EC also reduced lipid peroxidation, inhibited the pro-inflammatory cytokines, and lowered serum AST and ALT. The potential molecular mechanisms of EC underlying these effects were proposed to be associated to regulating Insig-1-SREBP-SCAP pathway, and other lipid metabolic related genes including LXRa, FAS and SIRT1. EC effectively improved blood lipid profile, inhibited chronic inflammation and lipid peroxidation, and protected liver from accumulating excessive fat in hyperlipidemic rats. The results shed light on the potential role of EC as a promising natural product in preventing hyperlipidemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Last Modified: 09/21/2017
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