Milk Thistle Protects LDL Cholesterol from Damage

June 9, 2008

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 Milk Thistle Protects LDL Cholesterol from Damage
Silymarin encompasses a group of flavonolignans that are extracted from Silybum marianum (Asteraceae) fruits. The silymarins have previously been reported to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels associated with high-fat diets. The present study reports the efficacy of the silymarins in inhibiting oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) generation and subsequent scavenger receptor (SR) mediated monocyte adherence to oxLDL. The flavonolignans that comprise silymarin include silichristin (SC), silidianin (SD), silibinin (SBN), and isosilibinin (IS). These flavonolignans (300 microM) lowered oxLDL generation, measured by the thiobarbituric acid-reacting substances (TBARS) assay, by 60.0, 28.1, 60.0, and 30.1%, respectively. SBN treatment of LDL in the presence of copper sulfate (CuSO 4) resulted in a significant dose-dependent inhibition of monocyte adhesion. Inhibition was paralleled by a decrease in binding of anti-oxLDL antibodies recognized by U937 monocyte Fc gamma receptors (FcgammaR). These results showed that silymarin and SBN, likely through antioxidant and free radical scavenging mechanisms of action, inhibit the generation of oxLDL and oxidation-specific neoepitopes recognized by SR and FcgammaR expressed on monocytes/macrophages.

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