ABSTRACT: 1. Twenty-two axenic (germfree) or thirty heteroxenic (axenic colonized with human flora) 2.5-3.5 months old female Fisher rats were fed for four weeks either a hypercholesterolemic (HYPER) diet or a HYPER diet containing 5% guar gum (GG) sterilized by heat or by gamma irradiation. 2. Axenic rats fed the irradiated GG diet had higher cholesterolemia than their counterparts fed an autoclaved diet (4.50 vs 2.29 mmol/l), whereas the method of sterilization had no effect on plasma cholesterol in axenic HYPER or heteroxenic animals (7.35 vs 6.51 mg/dl). 3. The levels of hepatic esterified cholesterol were higher in heteroxenic animals fed the irradiated GG diet than in their counterparts fed the autoclaved GG diet (5.65 vs 3.57 mmol/g tissue). 4. The composition of volatile fatty acids in the cecal content of heteroxenic rats was dependent on the method of sterilization regardless of the presence of fiber: the levels of butyrate were 2.88 and 0.85 mumol/g for rats fed the autoclaved and irradiated diets, respectively. 5. Gamma irradiation abolished the cholesterol-lowering effect of guar gum, whereas sterilization by heat preserved this effect. 6. The hypocholesterolemic effect of guar was reduced by gamma irradiation sterilization and was probably mediated by qualitative changes in the intestinal microflora which interfered with bile acid absorption.
Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research 04/1994; 27(3):677-89. · 1.13 Impact Factor