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Keywords:

  • okra;
  • hypolipidemic activity;
  • CYP7A1;
  • SREBP1c;
  • FAS;
  • polysaccharide

Little is known about the hypolipidemic activity of okra; therefore, we investigated the hypolipidemic activity of okra and its interaction with gene expression of several key components involved in lipid homeostasis. Male C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into three groups and fed with hyperlipidemic diet or two hyperlipidemic diets supplemented with 1% or 2% okra powder for eight weeks. Results demonstrated that okra dose-dependently decreased serum and hepatic total cholesterol and triglyceride, and enhanced fecal excretion of bile acids. Gene expression analysis revealed that okra upregulated cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) expression, downregulated expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c (SREBP1c) and fatty acid synthase (FAS), with no effect on sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 (SREBP2), 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR), low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1A (CPT1A). It was suggested that hypolipidemic activity of okra was mediated most likely by upregulation of cholesterol degradation through CYP7A1 and by inhibition of lipogenesis through SREBP1c and FAS. Okra raw and fractionated polysaccharide showed strong bile acid binding capacity in vitro, which may contribute to the hypolipidemic activity observed. In conclusion, okra has potential application in the management of hyperlipidemia and its associated metabolic disorders. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.