British Journal of Nutrition

Cambridge Journals Online - CUP Full-Text Page
British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 104:364-373 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © The Authors 2010

Full Papers

Metabolism and Metabolic Studies

Effects of oat bran, processed to different molecular weights of β-glucan, on plasma lipids and caecal formation of SCFA in mice

Tina Immerstranda1 c1, Kristina E. Anderssona2, Caroline Wangea3, Ana Rascona3, Per Hellstranda2, Margareta Nymana1, Steve W. Cuia4, Björn Bergenståhla5, Christian Trägårdha5 and Rickard Östea1a3

a1 Division of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition, Lund University, P.O. Box 124, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden
a2 Department of Experimental Medical Science, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
a3 Aventure AB, Scheelevägen 22, Lund, Sweden
a4 Guelph Food Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, ON, Canada
a5 Division of Food Technology, Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Article author query
immerstrand t [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
andersson ke [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
wange c [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
rascon a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
hellstrand p [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
nyman m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
cui sw [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
bergenståhl b [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
trägårdh c [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
öste r [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


In the present study, we evaluated the cholesterol-lowering effects of different oat bran (OB) preparations, differing regarding their peak molecular weight (MWp) of β-glucans (2348, 1311, 241, 56, 21 or < 10 kDa), in C57BL/6NCrl mice. The diets were designed to be atherogenic (0·8 % cholesterol and 0·1 % cholic acid), and they reflected the Western diet pattern (41 % energy fat). All OB preparations that were investigated significantly reduced plasma cholesterol when compared with a cellulose-containing control diet, regardless of the molecular weight of β-glucan. Moreover, the difference in viscous properties between the processed OB (from 0·11 to 17·7 l/g) did not appear to play a major role in the cholesterol-lowering properties. In addition, there was no correlation between the molecular weight of β-glucan and the amount of propionic acid formed in caecum. Interestingly, however, there was a significant correlation between the ratio of (propionic acid+butyric acid)/acetic acid and the MWp of β-glucans: the ratio increased with increasing molecular weight. The results of the present study suggest that the molecular weights and viscous properties of β-glucan in oat products may not be crucial parameters for their cholesterol-lowering effects.

(Received November 11 2009)

(Revised January 28 2010)

(Accepted February 01 2010)

(Online publication March 25 2010)

Key Words:Molecular weight: β-Glucan; Cholesterol; SCFA; Mice


c1 Corresponding author: Tina Immerstrand, fax +46 46 222 4532, email


Abbreviations: MWp, peak molecular weight; OB, oat bran; POB, processed OB