2008 Volume 54 Issue 6 Pages 448-453
The cholesterol-lowering action of soybean protein was studied with rats from the aspect of sulfur-containing amino acids using casein as a counterpart. Weanling rats were fed for 3 wk on a soybean protein isolate (SPI) or casein diet. Serum cholesterol levels did not differ between the two diet groups, but were lowered by supplementing methionine to a 10% SPI diet or cystine to an amino acid mixture diet, equivalent to a 10% SPI or to a 20% SPI diet. By adding methionine or cystine to a 10% SPI diet, cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase activity was elevated concomitantly with elevated hepatic glutathione (GSH) level, while hydroxyl methyl-glutalyl coenzyme A reductase activity was reduced by methionine, regardless of GSH levels. Excretion of fecal steroid was not significantly changed by addition of either amino acid, as expressed per body weight. These results indicate that the relative amount of methionine and cystine in a diet affected cholesterol metabolizing enzyme activity in a way not parallel to GSH concentration.