Phytosterol containing diet increases plasma and whole body concentration of phytosterols in apoE-KO but not in LDLR-KO mice

  • Valéria Sutti NunesEmail author
  • Patrícia Miralda Cazita
  • Sérgio Catanozi
  • Edna Regina Nakandakare
  • Eder Carlos Rocha Quintão


Phytosterol metabolism is unknown in the hypercholesterolemia of genetic origin. We investigated the metabolism of phytosterols in a cholesterol-free, phytosterol-containing standard diet in hypercholesterolemic mice knockouts for low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and apolipoprotein E (apoE) mice compared to wild-type mice (controls). Phytosterols were measured in mice tissues by GCMS. ApoE-KO mice absorbed less phytosterols than LDLR-KO and the latter absorbed less phytosterols than control mice, because the intestinal campesterol content was low in both KO mice, and sitosterol was low in the intestine in apoE-KO mice as compared to LDLR-KO mice. Although the diet contained nine times more sitosterol than campesterol, the concentration of sitosterol was lower than that of campesterol in plasma in LDLR-KO, and in the liver in controls and in LDLR-KO, but only in apoE-KO. On the other hand, in the intestine sitosterol was higher than campesterol in controls, and in LDLR-KO but with a tendency only in apoE-KO. Because of the high dietary supply of sitosterol, sitosterol was better taken up by the intestine than campesterol, but the amount of sitosterol was lower than that of campesterol in the liver, while in the whole body the amounts of these phytosterols do not differ from each other. Therefore, via intestinal lymph less sitosterol than campesterol was transferred to the body. However, as compared to controls, in apoE-KO mice, but not in LDLR-KO mice, the increase in campesterol and sitosterol in plasma and in the whole body indicating that apoE-KO mice have a marked defect in the elimination of both phytosterols from the body.


Knockout mice Phytosterols Hypercholesterolemia Apo E knockout mice Low density lipoprotein receptor 



This work was supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), São Paulo, Brazil (grant number: 2015-17566-2). The authors express their gratitude to Mr. Antônio dos Santos (Centro de Manutenção e Experimentação de Animais da Clínica Médica, Disciplina de Reumatologia FMUSP) for providing animal care and Monique de Fátima Mello and Francisca Elda Batista (Laboratório de Lipides, LIM-10, HCFMUSP) for their technical support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflicts of interests.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Lipides, LIM-10, Hospital das Clinicas HCFMUSP, Faculdade de MedicinaUniversidade de Sao PauloSão PauloBrazil

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