Reduction of cholesterol absorption by dietary plant sterols and stanols in mice is independent of the Abcg5/8 transporter

Torsten Plosch*, Janine K. Kruit, Vincent W. Bloks, Nicolette C. A. Huijkman, Rick Havinga, Guns S. M. J. E. Duchateau, Yuguang Lin, Folkert Kuipers

*Corresponding author for this work

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Dietary supplementation with plant sterols, stanols, and their esters reduces intestinal cholesterol absorption, thus lowering plasma LDL cholesterol concentration in humans. It was suggested that these beneficial effects are attributable in part to induction of genes involved in intestinal cholesterol transport, e.g., Abcg5 and Abcg8, via the liver X receptor (LXR), but direct proof is lacking. Male C57BL/6J mice were fed a purified diet (control), diets containing cholesterol (0.12 g/100 g) only, or in combination with either plant sterols or stanols (0.5 g/100 g) for 4 wk. Plant sterols and stanols dramatically increased neutral fecal sterol excretion (2.2 and 1.4-fold, respectively, compared with cholesterol-fed mice; P <0.05). Cholesterol and cholesterol ester concentrations were higher in livers of mice fed cholesterol compared with controls (+135% and +925%; P <0.05). Plant sterols and stanols completely prevented cholesterol accumulation as well as induction of LXR target genes in liver. Feeding plant sterols and stanols did not alter intestinal expression of Abcg5, Abcg8, or other LXR target genes nor of Npc1/1. Fractional cholesterol absorption in Abcg5(-/-) mice was reduced to the same extent by dietary plant sterols (49%) as in wild-type littermates (44%). Plant sterol and stanol-induced reduction of cholesterol absorption in mice is not associated with upregulation of intestinal LXR target genes nor is it influenced by Abcg5-deficiency. Our data indicate that dietary plant sterols and stanols inhibit cholesterol absorption within the intestinal lumen independently of LXR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2135-2140
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2006


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