Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Dietary Plant Stanol Supplementation Are Largely Dependent on the Intake of Cholesterol in a Mouse Model of Metabolic Inflammation

Ines Magro dos Reis, Tom Houben, Marion J. J. Gijbels, Dieter Luetjohann, Jogchum Plat, Ronit Shiri-Sverdlov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The prevalence of metabolic disorders characterized by chronic inflammation has been on a sharp rise for decades. As such, tools that address metabolic and inflammatory dysregulation are of great importance. Plant stanols are well-known for reducing intestinal cholesterol absorption and may also have direct anti-inflammatory effects. In this study, our aim was to investigate to what extent the benefits of dietary plant stanol supplementation depend on dietary cholesterol intake in an experimental mouse model for cholesterol-induced metabolic inflammation. Here, we used Ldlr(-/-) mice transplanted with Npc1(nih)-derived bone marrow, featuring feature bone marrow-derived immune cells characterized by chronic inflammation induced by lysosomal lipid accumulation. Npc1(nih)- and Npc1(wt)-transplanted mice were placed on either a high fat, high cholesterol (HFC) or on a chow diet low in cholesterol, with or without 2% plant stanols supplementation. At the end of the study, the metabolic and inflammatory status of the mice was analyzed. Plant stanol supplementation to the HFC diet reduced liver cholesterol levels and improved lipid metabolism and liver inflammation, particularly in Npc1(nih)-tp mice. In contrast, plant stanol supplementation to the chow diet did not significantly improve the aforementioned parameters, though similar reductive trends to those in the HFC diet setting were observed regarding liver cholesterol accumulation and liver inflammatory markers. The effects of dietary plant stanol supplementation on dietary cholesterol-induced inflammation are largely dependent on dietary cholesterol intake. Future research should verify whether other models of metabolic inflammation exhibit similar stanol-related effects on inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number518
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • plant stanols
  • cholesterol
  • diet
  • hepatic inflammation


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