This study investigated the underlying mechanisms of action for blood lipid lowering effects of citrus flavonoids and their methoxylated analogues (n = 19; dose range: 0-100 μM) in HepG2 cells. Cholesterol (CH) and triglyceride (TG) syntheses were assessed by measuring the incorporation of (14)C-acetate and (14)C-glycerol, respectively, whereas apoB secretion was determined by ELISA. Results show that two polymethoxylated citrus flavonoids (PMFs), tangeretin and nobiletin, potently inhibited apoB secretion (IC(50) = 13 and 29 μM, respectively) and modestly inhibited CH synthesis (IC(50) = 49 and 68 μM) and TG synthesis (IC(50) = 14 and 73 μM), without effecting LDL-receptor activity. Other PMFs (e.g., sinensetin) and non-PMFs (e.g., hesperetin and naringenin) had only weak effects on CH and TG syntheses and apoB secretion (IC(50) > 100 μM). The structure-activity analysis indicated that a fully methoxylated A-ring of the flavonoid structure was associated with a potent inhibitory activity on hepatic apoB secretion. In conclusion, this study using HepG2 cells indicates that citrus flavonoids with a fully methoxylated A-ring may lower blood CH and TG concentrations primarily by suppressing hepatic apoB secretion as a main underlying mode of action.
Lin Y, Vermeer MA, Bos W, van Buren L, Schuurbiers E, Miret-Catalan S, Trautwein EA. Molecular structures of citrus flavonoids determine their effects on lipid metabolism in HepG2 cells by primarily suppressing apoB secretion. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 May Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.