Inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis by a water-soluble garlic extract in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes.Arzneimittelforschung. 1991 Aug; 41(8):800-4.A
Cultured rat hepatocytes continually synthesize cholesterol form radiolabeled acetate during a 24 h incubation period and export it, presumably as VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) to the culture medium. Mevastatin inhibits cholesterol biosynthesis by 90%. Incubation of the cultures with water-soluble extracts of garlic powder (Kwai, Sapec) diminish cholesterol biosynthesis (20-25%) as well as its export into the medium (30-35%). The IC50-value is 90 micrograms/ml. Between about 0.25 and 10 mg/ml the average maximal inhibition amounts to about 23%. Cytotoxicity of the extracts is apparent at concentrations above 125 mg/ml only. Pure alliin alone, or after incubation with alliinase (conversion to allicin) in concentrations corresponding to its content in the extracts does not exert any inhibition. Replacement of 14C-acetate by 14C-mevalonate omits the inhibitory effect. The activity of HMGCoA (hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA) reductase is significantly reduced by garlic extracts at 50 micrograms/ml. At higher concentrations fatty acid synthetase, cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase and cholesterol acyltransferase are slightly inhibited. Fatty acid synthetase is the only one of these enzymes which is inhibited by alliin at very high concentrations. These results demonstrate that water-soluble garlic extracts diminish hepatic cholesterol biosynthesis, thus contributing to the reduction of blood cholesterol. The main target site seems to be HMGCoA-reductase. The actual active principle(s) is still unknown. Alliin, however, does not seem to be of major significance.