• Bile acids;
  • Capsaicinoids;
  • Cholesterol metabolism;
  • Gene expression;
  • Ovariectomized rats


This study investigated the interaction of dietary capsaicinoids with the mRNA and protein expressions of key receptors and enzymes involved in cholesterol metabolism in ovariectomized (OVX) rats.

Methods and results

Female Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to sham operation or ovariectomy. The sham group and OVX control group were fed with high-cholesterol diets, whereas the treatment group (control diet containing 0.01% capsaicinoids) was fed with high-cholesterol plus 0.01% capsaicinoids diet for 21 days. Capsaicinoids significantly decreased the body weight gain, plasma total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triacylglycerol without affecting the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the OVX rats. The change in plasma lipoprotein profile was accompanied by a greater excretion of total bile acid in feces and small intestinal contents. Western blot and real-time PCR analyses revealed that capsaicinoids significantly enhanced the expressions of hepatic cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase and transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 but did not affect the expression of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase in the OVX rats.


Capsaicinoids have cholesterol-lowering effects in OVX rats. The hypocholesterolemic activity of capsaicinoids is caused by the stimulating conversion of cholesterol to bile acids by upregulation of cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase expression and the increase in fecal total bile acid excretion.