Differential effects on inhibition of cholesterol absorption by plant stanol and plant sterol esters in apoE-/- mice

Oliver Weingärtner*, Christof Ulrich, Dieter Luetjohann, Kenan Ismail, Stephan H. Schirmer, Tim Vanmierlo, Michael Boehm, Ulrich Laufs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


'Functional foods' supplemented with plant sterol esters (PSE) and plant stanol esters (PSA) are therapeutic options for the management of hypercholesterolaemia. However, their effects on blood monocytes, endothelial function, atherogenesis, and sterol tissue concentrations are poorly understood.Male apoE-/- mice (n= 30) were randomized to three different diets for 6 weeks (n= 10 per group): high-cholesterol (1.25%) western-type diet (WTD), WTD + 2% PSE, and WTD + 2% PSA. Both supplements reduced serum cholesterol. WTD + PSE resulted in increased plant sterol serum concentrations and increased inflammatory Ly-6C(high) monocyte numbers. WTD + PSA increased plant stanol serum concentrations and Ly-6C-monocyte numbers, but decreased vascular superoxide release, lipid hydroperoxides, and inflammatory cytokines in aortic tissue, in plasma, and in circulating monocytes. Despite reduced serum cholesterol concentrations, both supplements impaired endothelial vasodilation compared with WTD. WTD + PSA reduced the development of atherosclerotic lesions compared with WTD alone (12.7 ? 3.7 vs. 28.3 ? 3.5%), and WTD + PSE was less effective (17.5 ? 3.7%). WTD + PSE and WTD + PSA reduced the cholesterol content in the liver, but not in the brain. However, WTD + PSE and WTD + PSA increased plant sterol and plant stanol concentrations in the liver as well as in the brain.PSE and PSA supplementation reduced serum cholesterol, but increased plant sterol and plant stanol concentrations. Elevated levels of PSE and PSA were associated with endothelial dysfunction and increased central nervous system depositions. Atherosclerotic lesion retardation was more pronounced in WTD + PSA, coinciding with higher regenerative monocyte numbers, decreased oxidative stress, and decreased inflammatory cytokines compared with WTD + PSE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-492
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Cholesterol
  • Plant sterol
  • Plant stanol
  • Monocytes
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibition


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential effects on inhibition of cholesterol absorption by plant stanol and plant sterol esters in apoE-/- mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this