Tocotrienol (T3) is an important phytonutrient found in rice bran and palm oil. T3 has gained much interest for lipid lowering effects, especially for cholesterol (Cho) by inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase. Also, usefulness of T3 in improving triglyceride (TG) profiles has been suggested, but its efficacy and mechanism have been unclear. We investigated how T3 decreases TG concentration in cultured cells and animals. In a cell culture study, human hepatoma cells (HepG2) were incubated in a control or a fat (1 mM oleic acid)-loaded medium containing γ-T3 for 24 h. We found that 10-15 μM γ-T3 inhibited cellular TG accumulation significantly, especially in the fat-loaded medium. This manifestation was supported by mRNA and protein expressions of fatty acid synthase, carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1, and cytochrome P450 3A4. In concordance with these results, rice bran T3 supplementation to F344 rats (5 or 10 mg T3/day/rat) receiving a high fat diet for 3 weeks significantly reduced TG and the oxidative stress marker (phospholipid hydroperoxides, PLOOH) in the liver and blood plasma. T3 supplementation did not show changes in the Cho level. These results provided new information and the mechanism of the TG-lowering effect of T3. The lipid lowering effects of dietary T3 might be mediated by the reduction of TG synthesis.
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