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Soy protein supports cardiovascular health by downregulating hydroxymethylglutaryl–coenzyme A reductase and sterol regulatory element-binding protein–2 and increasing antioxidant enzyme activity in rats with dextran sodium sulfate–induced mild systemic inflammation

School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA.
Nutrition research (Impact Factor: 2.59). 12/2011; 31(12):922-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2011.09.027
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Animal and human studies have indicated that the presence of soy in the diet improves cardiovascular health. Inflammation plays a pivotal role in the progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, little is known about how dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced systemic inflammation impacts overall heart health and, correspondingly, how soy protein modulates risk of CVD development in DSS-induced systemic inflammation. We hypothesized that soy protein-fed rats would have a lower risk of CVD by beneficial alteration of gene expression involving lipid metabolism and antioxidant capacity in DSS-induced systemic inflammation. Forty Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into 4 groups: casein, casein + DSS, soy protein, and soy protein + DSS. After 26 days, inflammation was induced in one group from each diet by incorporating 3% DSS in drinking water for 48 hours. Soy protein-fed rats had lower final body weights (P = .010), epididymal fat weights (P = .049), total cholesterol (P < .001), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P < .001). In regard to gene expression, soy protein-fed rats had lower sterol regulatory element-binding protein-2 (P = .032) and hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (P = .028) levels and higher low-density lipoprotein receptor levels (P = .036). Antioxidant enzyme activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase was higher among the soy protein groups (P = .037 and P = .002, respectively). These results suggest that soy protein positively influences cardiovascular health by regulating serum lipids through modified expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-2 and its downstream genes (ie, hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase and low-density lipoprotein receptor) and by promoting the antioxidant enzyme activity of superoxide dismutase and catalase.

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