The effect of young and mature persimmon fruits on lipid metabolism was investigated in a diet-induced murine obesity model. A commercially purchased high fat diet (Quick Fat, CLEA Japan) was used as the basal diet. Dried and powdered young and mature fruits of two breeds of persimmon, Fuyu-kaki and Hachiya-kaki, were added to the basal diet at a concentration of 10%, respectively. Male C57BL/6 mice (n=4) were divided into five groups and fed the basal diet or one of the persimmon-supplemented basal diets ad libitum for 14 weeks. Diets supplemented with both types of young fruit significantly reduced the rise in plasma lipids, including total cholesterol (p<0.005), triglyceride (p<0.05), and LDL cholesterol (p<0.05), and the effect was almost equal between the two breeds. Real-time RT-PCR revealed that both of these young fruit-supplemented diets equally up-regulated expression of the cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) gene in the liver by about three-fold (p<0.05). CYP7A1 plays an important role in maintaining cholesterol homeostasis by regulating bile acid synthesis, suggesting that increased conversion of cholesterol to bile acids may have caused the cholesterol-lowering effect of the young fruits. The results indicate that young persimmon fruits are beneficial in the development of preventive and therapeutic agents against dyslipidemia.
2006 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan