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Lactobacillus plantarum DR7 Reduces Cholesterol via Phosphorylation of AMPK That Down-regulated the mRNA Expression of HMG-CoA Reductase
Korean J. Food Sci. An. 2018;38:350-361
Published online April 30, 2018
© 2018 Korean Society for Food Science of Animal Resources

Lee-Ching Lew1, Sy-Bing Choi1, Boon-Yin Khoo2, Sasidharan Sreenivasan2, Kee-Leong Ong3, and Min-Tze Liong1,*

1School of Industrial Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
2Institute for Research on Molecular Medicine, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
3Clinical Nutrition Intl (M) Sdn Bhd, 43200 Selangor, Malaysia
Correspondence to: Min-Tze Liong
School of Industrial Technology, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +604-653-2114 Fax: +604-653-6375 E-mail:
Received September 29, 2017; Revised January 14, 2018; Accepted March 13, 2018.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Hypercholesterolemia is one of the primary risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The use of lactobacilli probiotics to reduce blood cholesterol levels have been extensively reported. However, more information is needed to evaluate the possible mechanisms involved and to identify possible targets for further therapeutic development. In this study, strains of lactobacilli were screened based on the ability to assimilate cholesterol, and prevention of cholesterol accumulation in hepatic (HepG2) and intestinal (HT-29) cells. Cell free supernatant (CFS) from Lactobacillus plantarum DR7 showed a higher ability to assimilate cholesterol, reduction in cholesterol accumulation in both HepG2 and HT-29 cells, accompanied by reduced mRNA expression of HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR) in HepG2 (p<0.05), compared to other lactobacilli. The reduction of HMGCR expression was also diminished in the presence of an AMPK inhibitor (Compound C), suggesting that L. plantarum DR7 exerted its effect via the AMPK pathway, typically via the phosphorylation of AMPK instead of the AMPK mRNA expression in HepG2 (p<0.05). Altogether, our present study illustrated that lactobacilli could exert cholesterol lowering properties along the AMPK pathway, specifically via phosphorylation of AMPK that led to reduced expression of HMGCR.
Keywords : hypercholesterolemia, AMP-protein kinase, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR), Lactobacillus, probiotics

April 2018, 38 (2)