Synergic hypocholesterolaemic effect of n-3 PUFA and oestrogen by modulation of hepatic cholesterol metabolism in female rats.Br J Nutr. 2015 Dec 14; 114(11):1766-73.BJ
n-3 PUFA such as EPA and DHA as well as oestrogen have been reported to decrease blood levels of cholesterol, but their underlying mechanism is unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of the combination of n-3 PUFA supplementation and oestrogen injection on hepatic cholesterol metabolism. Rats were fed a modified AIN-93G diet with 0, 1 or 2 % n-3 PUFA (EPA+DHA) relative to the total energy intake for 12 weeks. Rats were surgically ovariectomised at week 8, and, after 1-week recovery, rats were injected with 17β-oestradiol-3-benzoate (E2) or maize oil for the last 3 weeks. Supplementation with n-3 PUFA and E2 injection significantly increased the ratio of the hepatic expression of phosphorylated AMP activated protein kinase (p-AMPK):AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) and decreased sterol regulatory element-binding protein-2, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9. Supplementation with n-3 PUFA increased hepatic expression of cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), sterol 12α-hydroxylase (CYP8B1) and sterol 27-hydroxylase (CYP27A1); however, E2 injection decreased CYP7A1 and CYP8B1 but not CYP27A1. Additionally, E2 injection increased hepatic expression of oestrogen receptor-α and β. In conclusion, n-3 PUFA supplementation and E2 injection had synergic hypocholesterolaemic effects by down-regulating hepatic cholesterol synthesis (n-3 PUFA and oestrogen) and up-regulating bile acid synthesis (n-3 PUFA) in ovariectomised rats.