1998 Volume 51 Issue 4 Pages 173-181
We examined the relationship between soybean hull-derived water-soluble hemicellulose (SSH) and the role of the cecum in order to clarify the function of SSH in the regulation of serum cholesterol level. When rats were fed a semi-purified diet containing SSH, we observed a reduced serum cholesterol level (p<0.05) and a notable increase (p<0.05) of cecum weight in comparison with those in other groups, where no increase in the fecal sterol concentration was observed. Although the serum cholesterol level of cecectomized rats fed SSH was roughly comparable with that of rats given a sham operation, the cecum, when present, showed a different pattern of fecal steroid excretion. Lower excretion (p<0.05) of fecal bile acids and neutral sterols was observed in the rats given a sham operation and fed SSH. These results indicate that the cecum plays an important role in the regulation of fecal steroid excretion, rather than having a hypocholesterolemic effect.