2006 Volume 29 Issue 4 Pages 760-765
This study was carried out to investigate the protective potential of Chinese prescription Kangen-karyu, comprising six crude drugs, on coronary heart disease which is the principal cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The diet-induced hypercholesterolemic rat model, which shows an elevation in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and atherosclerosis, was employed. The control rats fed a diet of 1% cholesterol and 0.5% cholic acid showed the highest cholesterol levels in serum and feces relative to those fed a normal diet, however, the rats administered Kangen-karyu extract showed reductions in these levels without changes in liver cholesterol, indicating that the reduction of serum total cholesterol by Kangen-karyu extract probably arises from an increase in cholesterol excretion. Furthermore, the administration of Kangen-karyu extract significantly prevented the elevation of serum aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, known as marker enzymes of liver damage. The elevated serum levels of LDL cholesterol were lowered, however, the high density lipoprotein cholesterol level was significantly elevated by Kangen-karyu extract and these were dose-dependent decreases in the atherogenic index to 15.2, 8.8 and 7.5 at oral doses of 50, 100 and 200 mg from the 19.4 control value, respectively. In addition, Kangen-karyu extract inhibited LDL oxidation in a dose-dependent manner, and the elevated level of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances in control rats showed a decline by the administration of Kangen-karyu extract. The present study suggests that Kangen-karyu could play a protective role against hypercholesterolemia through the regulation of cholesterol levels and inhibition of lipid peroxidation.