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Choosing hamsters but not rats as a model for studying plasma cholesterol-lowering activity of functional foods
- Zhang, Zesheng, Wang, Hao, Jiao, Rui, Peng, Cheng, Wong, Yin Mei, Yeung, Venus Sai Ying, Huang, Yu, Chen, Zhen-Yu
- Molecular nutrition & food research 2009 v.53 no.7 pp. 921-930
- functional foods, diet, liver, humans, Mesocricetus auratus, models, cholesterol, low density lipoprotein, rats, receptors, hypercholesterolemia, bile acids
- Rats and hamsters are commonly used rodents to test the efficacy of cholesterol-lowering functional foods. In general, a diet containing 1% cholesterol for rats whereas a diet containing 0.1% cholesterol for hamsters is used to induce the hypercholesterolemia. The present study was carried out to compare hamsters with rats as a hypercholesterolemia model. Golden Syrian hamsters and Sprague Dawley rats were randomly divided into four groups and fed one of the four diets containing 0-0.9% cholesterol. Results demonstrated that serum total cholesterol (TC) in hamsters was raised 73-81% higher than that in rats fed the same cholesterol diets. Unlike rats in which HDL-C accounted very little for serum TC, the lipoprotein profile in hamsters was closer to that in humans. We investigated interaction of higher cholesterol diets with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutary-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase, low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDL-R) and cholesterol-7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), sterol regulatory element binding protein-2 (SREBP-2), and liver X receptor (LXR-α). Results showed hamsters and rats metabolized cholesterol differently. In view that hamsters synthesize and excrete cholesterol and bile acids in a manner similar to that in humans, it is concluded that hamsters but not rats shall be chosen as a model to study efficacy of cholesterol-lowering functional foods.