2013 Volume 30 Issue 5 Pages 236-245
Diet-induced hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor of adult disease. A commonly used class of drugs for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia is statins that decrease plasma cholesterol levels by inhibiting the cellular activity of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase, a rate-limiting enzyme of cholesterol biosynthesis. Since the use of statins result in several side effects, it is alternatively beneficial to prevent hypercholesterolemia by habitual intake of natural medicines or crude drugs. In this study, we aimed to clarify the effects of the combined extract of Sasa albo-marginata leaves (Sasa kurinensis Makino), Japanse red pine leaves (Pinus densiflora Sieb. et Zucc) and ginseng roots (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer) (SJG) on cholesterol homeostasis by using genome-wide expression analysis in the liver of diet-induced hypercholesterolemic rats. For a period of 3 weeks, experimental animal groups were given food and water as follows: standard diet and water, standard diet and 50% (v/v) SJG, high-cholesterol diet (HCD) and water, and HCD and 50% SJG. We then performed genome-wide expression analyses using microarray to obtain a gene expression profile of the liver. Venn diagram was drawn to extract cholesterol-regulated genes whose expressions were altered by SJG. We also performed principal component analysis to visualize the microarray data. We found that the expression of genes involved in cholesterol metabolism, such as P450 7A1 and 8B1 were statistically increased by treatment of SJG in the presence of cholesterol. Although SJG upregulated the expression of P450 7A1, plasma cholesterol levels were not improved by SJG. Further studies are needed to clarify the effects of SJG on cholesterol homeostasis.