Protective role of plant sterol and stanol esters in liver inflammation: insights from mice and humans

J. Plat*, T. Hendrikx, V. Bieghs, M.L.J. Jeurissen, S.M. Walenbergh, P.J. van Gorp, E. de Smet, M. Konings, A.C. Vreugdenhil, Y. D. Guichot, S.S. Rensen, W. Buurman, J. Greve, D. Lutjohann, R.P. Mensink, R. Shiri-Sverdlov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The inflammatory component of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) can lead to irreversible liver damage. Therefore there is an urgent need to identify novel interventions to combat hepatic inflammation. In mice, omitting cholesterol from the diet reduced hepatic inflammation. Considering the effects of plant sterol/stanol esters on cholesterol metabolism, we hypothesized that plant sterol/stanol esters reduces hepatic inflammation. Indeed, adding plant sterol/stanol esters to a high-fat-diet reduced hepatic inflammation as indicated by immunohistochemical stainings and gene expression for inflammatory markers. Finally, adding sterol/stanol esters lowered hepatic concentrations of cholesterol precursors lathosterol and desmosterol in mice, which were highly elevated in the HFD group similarly as observed in severely obese patients with NASH. In vitro, in isolated LPS stimulated bone marrow derived macrophages desmosterol activated cholesterol efflux whereas sitostanol reduced inflammation. This highly interesting observation that plant sterol/stanol ester consumption leads to complete inhibition of HFD-induced liver inflammation opens new venues in the treatment and prevention of hepatic inflammation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere110758
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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