Hypocholesterolemic effects of a flavonoid-rich extract of Hypericum perforatum L. in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet.J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Apr 06; 53(7):2462-6.JA
In a previous study, a flavonoid-rich extract of Hypericum perforatum L. (FEHP) was prepared and its antioxidant activity was determined by a series of models in vitro. In this study, the hypocholesterolemic effects of FEHP in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet were tested. Forty Wistar rats fed a standard laboratory diet or a cholesterol-rich diet for 16 weeks were used. The serum lipid levels, as well as malondialdehyde (MDA) and activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) in serum and liver, were examined. Cholesterol-rich diet induced hypercholesterolemia was manifested in the elevation of serum lipid levels such as total cholesterol (TC), total triglycerides (TG), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Administration of middle-dose (75 mg/kg of BW/day) and high-dose (150 mg/kg of BW/day) FEHP significantly lowered the serum levels of TC, TG, and LDL-C, while increasing the serum level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Also, the content of MDA in serum and liver decreased significantly after oral administration of FEHP compared with those of rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet. In addition, FEHP increased the activity of SOD in serum and liver, but the activity of CAT was significantly elevated only in liver. These results suggested that the hypocholesterolemic effects of FEHP might be due to its abilities to lower serum TC, TG, and LDL-C levels as well as to slow the lipid peroxidation process and to enhance the antioxidant enzyme activity.