Diverse effects of oats on cholesterol metabolism in C57BL/6 mice correlate with expression of hepatic bile acid-producing enzymes.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


PURPOSE: We previously reported that two substrains of C57BL/6 mice respond differently to oats with respect to reduction in plasma cholesterol. Analysis of this difference might offer clues to mechanisms behind the cholesterol-lowering effect of oats. Here, we address the possible roles of hepatic steroid metabolism and the intestinal microbiota in this respect. METHODS: Female C57BL/6 mice were fed an atherogenic diet with oat bran (27 %) or control fibres for 4 weeks. RESULTS: C57BL/6 NCrl mice responded to oat bran with 19 ± 1 % (P < 0.001) lower plasma cholesterol, 40 ± 5 % (P < 0.01) higher excretion of bile acids and increased expression of the bile acid-producing hepatic enzymes CYP7A1 and CYP8B1, but none of these effects were found in C57BL/6JBomTac mice. However, on control diet, C57BL/6JBomTac had tenfold higher expression of CYP7A1 and levels of hepatic cholesterol esters than C57BL/6NCrl mice. Plasma levels of fructosamine indicated improved glycemic control by oat bran in C57BL/6NCrl but not in C57BL/6JBomTac. C57BL/6JBomTac had higher intestinal microbiota diversity, but lower numbers of Enterobacteriaceae, Akkermansia and Bacteroides Fragilis than C57BL/6NCrl mice. Oat bran increased bacterial numbers in both substrains. Microbiota diversity was reduced by oats in C57BL/6JBomTac, but unaffected in C57BL/6NCrl. CONCLUSIONS: Our data do not support a connection between altered microbiota diversity and reduced plasma cholesterol, but the bacterial composition in the intestine may influence the effects of added fibres. The cholesterol-lowering properties of oats involve increased production of bile acids via the classical pathway with up-regulation of CYP7A1 and CYP8B1. Altered cholesterol or bile acid metabolism may interfere with the potential of oats to reduce plasma cholesterol.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1755-1769
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Vascular Physiology (013212034), Cellular Biomechanics (013212075), Molecular Endocrinology (013212018), Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry (011001300), Food Technology (011001017)

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