British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

The hypocholesterolaemic effects of sitostanol in the guinea pig are in part related to changes in hepatic lipids and lipoprotein composition

Tripurasundari Ramjiganesha1 c1, Suheeta Roya1, Jonathan C. McIntyrea2 and Maria Luz Fernandeza1

a1 Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA

a2 Monsanto Company, St. Louis, MO, 63167, USA


To evaluate some of the mechanisms involved in the plasma cholesterol lowering of sitostanol (SI), male Hartley guinea pigs were fed diets containing cholesterol (0.25 g/100 g) and four doses of SI: either 0 (control), 0.75, 1.5 or 2.25 g/100 g. In addition a negative control (-C) group with dietary cholesterol (0.04 g/100 g) was included. Corn oil was used as the source of fat and the contribution of fat energy was 35 %. Plasma total cholesterol was 43, 49 and 53 % (P<0.0001) lower after SI intake compared to the control. Plasma LDL concentrations were 47, 53 and 61 % lower with increasing doses of SI. In addition, intake of SI resulted in 26–42 % lower hepatic total cholesterol. Hepatic esterified cholesterol and triacylglycerols were 32–60 % and 55–61 % lower after SI intake. SI intake resulted in favourable plasma and hepatic cholesterol concentrations similar to those in guinea pigs fed low levels of dietary cholesterol (-C). The LDL obtained from the control group had a higher number of molecules of free and esterified cholesterol than the SI groups. SI intake resulted in 69–71 % higher cholesterol excretion compared to the control. SI treatment enhanced the total faecal neutral sterol excretion by 54–58 % compared to control and by 70–76 % compared to the (-C) group. These results suggest that SI might have its hypocholesterolaemic effect by reducing cholesterol absorption, which results in lower concentration of cholesterol in liver. This reduction in hepatic cholesterol might possibly alter hepatic cholesterol metabolism and affect lipoprotein concentration and composition.

(Received February 29 2000)

(Revised August 29 2000)

(Accepted September 21 2000)


c1 * Corresponding author: fax +1 860 486 3674, email: