A green tea extract lowers plasma cholesterol by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis and upregulating the LDL receptor in the cholesterol-fed rabbit
Author: Christina A. Bursill and Mavis Abbey and Paul D. Roach
Green tea extracts enriched in catechins decrease plasma cholesterol in hamsters, mice and rats. The aims of this study were to determine whether a catechin-enriched extract of green tea could lower plasma cholesterol in the cholesterol-fed rabbit and to determine the mechanism of action. Four groups of six New Zealand White rabbits were initially made hypercholesterolaemic by feeding a 0.25% (w/w) cholesterol diet for 2 weeks before the diet was supplemented with a catechin extract from green tea at 0, 0.5, 1 or 2% (w/w) for 4 weeks. Administration of the crude catechin extract from green tea significantly (p < 0.05) lowered cholesterol in plasma (−60%), VLDL + IDL (−70%), LDL (−80%), liver (total by −25% and unesterified by −15%) and aorta (−25%) compared to control. There was a significant reduction in the cholesterol synthesis index (−60%) and a significant increase in hepatic LDL receptor activity (+80%) and protein (+70%) but there was no change in the intrinsic capacity to absorb cholesterol from the intestines. These results suggest that green tea catechins lowered plasma, liver and aortic cholesterol in the cholesterol-fed rabbit by lowering cholesterol synthesis and upregulating the hepatic LDL receptor.