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Effect of Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) as a Lipid Lowering Agent on Hypercholesterolemic Rats

Authors:

Abstract

Background: Dyslipidemia is one of the important causes of cardiovascular disease related mortality and morbidity. Recently it has become a significant issue in public health problem of developing countries. The purpose of the study was to find a suitable solution for reducing blood lipid in dyslipidemic patients by conducting a research on the effect of cinnamon in hypercholesterolemic rats.Objective: To study the lipid lowering effect of Cinnamomum cassia on experimentally induced hypercholesterolemic rats.Materials and Methods: This study was done on 30 male Long Evans rats weighing about 200--210 gram. For convenience, the study was divided into two experiments --- Experiment I and Experiment II. In experiment I, 12 animals were divided into two groups. One was Group A (n = 6, control group) fed on laboratory diet and the other was Group B (n = 6) fed on laboratory diet and cinnamon for 35 days. In experiment II, the remaining 18 rats were fed fatty mixture diet containing 1% cholesterol and 0.25% cholic acid. The hypercholesterolemic rats were then divided into 3 groups, Group C, D, and E (n=6 in each group). Group D and Group E were additionally fed on cinnamon powder and tablet atorvastatin for 35 days respectively. Serum TC, TG, LDL-C and HDL-C were measured after 35 days.Results: Fatty mixture diet increased TG, TC and LDL-C significantly. Cinnamon treated fatty mixture diet group showed that Cinnamomum cassia decreased plasma TC, TG and LDL-C. Atorvastatin therapy decreased TC, TG and LDL-C levels significantly compared with the lowering effect of cinnamon.Conclusion: The results of this experimental study indicate that Cinnamomum cassia can act as a hypocholesterolemic agent and thereby can improve cardiovascular functions.
Abstract
Background: Dyslipidemia is one of the important causes of cardiovascular disease related
mortality and morbidity. Recently it has become a significant issue in public health problem of
developing countries. The purpose of the study was to find a suitable solution for reducing
blood lipid in dyslipidemic patients by conducting a research on the effect of cinnamon in
hypercholesterolemic rats. Objective: To study the lipid lowering effect of Cinnamomum
cassia on experimentally induced hypercholesterolemic rats. Materials and Methods: This
study was done on 30 male Long Evans rats weighing about 200--210 gram. For convenience,
the study was divided into two experiments --- Experiment I and Experiment II. In experiment
I, 12 animals were divided into two groups. One was Group A (n = 6, control group) fed on
laboratory diet and the other was Group B (n = 6) fed on laboratory diet and cinnamon for 35
days. In experiment II, the remaining 18 rats were fed fatty mixture diet containing 1%
cholesterol and 0.25% cholic acid. The hypercholesterolemic rats were then divided into 3
groups, Group C, D, and E (n=6 in each group). Group D and Group E were additionally fed
on cinnamon powder and tablet atorvastatin for 35 days respectively. Serum TC, TG, LDL-C
and HDL-C were measured after 35 days. Results: Fatty mixture diet increased TG, TC and
LDL-C significantly. Cinnamon treated fatty mixture diet group showed that Cinnamomum
cassia decreased plasma TC, TG and LDL-C. Atorvastatin therapy decreased TC, TG and
LDL-C levels significantly compared with the lowering effect of cinnamon. Conclusion: The
results of this experimental study indicate that Cinnamomum cassia can act as a
hypocholesterolemic agent and thereby can improve cardiovascular functions.
Key words: Cinnamomum cassia, Dyslipidemia, Hypercholesterolemic rats
J Enam Med Col 2013; 3(2): 94--98
Hypercholesterolemia is a condition characterized by
very high levels of cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol
is a waxy, fat-like substance that is produced in the
body and obtained from foods that come from animals
(particularly egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy
products). The body needs this substance to build cell
membranes, make certain hormones, and produce
compounds that aid in fat digestion.
Introduction
94
Effect of Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) as a Lipid Lowering
Agent on Hypercholesterolemic Rats
1. Former M Phil student, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Sir Salimullah Medical College, Dhaka
2. Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Enam Medical College, Savar, Dhaka
3. Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Enam Medical College, Savar, Dhaka
4. Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Sir Salimullah Medical College, Dhaka
5. Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Sir Salimullah Medical College, Dhaka
6. Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Northern International Medical College,
Dhanmondi, Dhaka
Correspondence Sonia Rahman, Email: mrtsr2003@yahoo.com
Original Article
Sonia Rahman1, Halima Begum2, Zaida Rahman3, Ferdous Ara4,
Md. Jalaluddin Iqbal5, Abul Kalam Mohammad Yousuf 6
Journal of Enam Medical College
Vol 3 No 2 July 2013
Recently, hypercholesterolemia has been
associated with enhanced oxidative stress
related to increased lipid peroxidation.
Increased generation of oxidized LDL is a
major factor in the vascular damage associated
with high cholesterol levels. Hence, the
inhibition of oxidative stress under
hypercholesterolemic conditions is considered
to be an important therapeutic approach and
efforts have been made to identify the
antioxidative functions of various medicinal
plants.1
The use of plant extracts in managing various
disorders is currently a common practice.
Many plant materials are also in current use as
supplements. Sometimes the aim is to lower
the levels of some markers of disease states in
order to improve health conditions. An
example may be found in the use of substances
that lower the cholesterol level in the system.
Many studies indicate that lowering the serum
cholesterol may prevent, control and even
reverse artherosclerosis and coronary heart
disease. Low triacylglycerol and low-density
lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels or high
density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels
are desirable health outcomes known to have
resulted from the use of some plant materials.2
Cinnamon is a plant that has a variety of uses
among many different cultures, from spicing
up foods to deterring germs from growing.
There are actually two main forms of
cinnamon that are commonly found in foods.
The first, Cinnamomum verum, also known as
true cinnamon or ceylon cinnamon, is
commonly used in sweet pastries. On the other
hand, Cinnamomum cassia, also known as
cassia, Chinese cinnamon or bastard
cinnamon, is used as a stronger spice in a
variety of foods. In fact, it is cassia-based
cinnamon that is often seen on the grocery
shelves and is most often cheaper than true
cinnamon.3
Cinnamate, a phenolic compound found in the
inner bark of cinnamon lowers cholesterol
level in high fat fed rats by inhibiting hepatic
HMG Co-A reductase activity.4 Polyphenolic
polymers found in cinnamon have antioxidant
activity and have been shown to reduce oxidative stress in
dose dependent manner through inhibition of 5-lipoxy-
genase enzyme.5 Cinnamon has a long history of use as
spice and flavoring agent. Indeed, there are reports of
cinnamon being imported to Egypt from China as early as
2000 BC. Cinnamon is mentioned in Chinese text written
400 years ago as well as in the Bible.6 The aim of this
study was to find a suitable solution for the
hypercholesterolemic patients by conducting a research of
cinnamon’s effect on rats.
Materials and Methods
This experimental study was carried out in the department
of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in Sir Salimullah
Medical College and Bangladesh Centre for Scientific and
Industrial Research (BCSIR) from July 2011 to June 2012.
Preparation of the cinnamon powder
Cinnamon powder was obtained from cinnamon bark
which contained cinnamonaldehyde. The cinnamon
powder was produced by crushing sun-dried cinnamon
bark in a grinder machine.
Chemicals
Cholesterol and cholic acid (manufactured by Loba
Chemic) and atorvastatin (manufactured by Beximco
Pharmaceuticals) were purchased from the local market in
Dhaka. A mixture of cholesterol, cholic acid and standard
laboratory diet for rats had been administered to each rat
per day for 35 days.4
Animals
The study was performed on total number of 30 healthy
adult Long Evans (Rattus Rattus) rats weighing between
200 to 210 gm collected from the BCSIR laboratory. The
chosen animals were housed in cages separately at normal
atmospheric temperature between 26 to 290C under good
ventilation and were given water and standard balanced
diet. Animals were randomly distributed into five groups
of six animals in each. Each cage was labeled for
identification of different groups.
Experiment I
Experiment I was conducted to demonstrate the effect of
Cinnamomum cassia on normal adult male rats. For this
purpose a total number of 12 rats were taken and was
divided into two groups containing six animals in each
group.
Group A: Each animal received laboratory diet 20 gm/day
and distilled water for 35 days.
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J Enam Med Col Vol 3 No 2 July 2013
Group B: Each animal received 15% powder of
Cinnamomum cassia mixed with laboratory
diet 20 gm/day for 35 days.
Experiment II
Experiment II was conducted to demonstrate
the effect of Cinnamomum cassia on
hypercholesterolemic rats. For this purpose a
total number of 18 rats were taken and divided
into three groups containing six animals in
each group.
Group C: Hypercholesterolemic group that
received fatty mixture diet (normal laboratory
diet plus 1% cholesterol with 0.25% cholic
acid) for 35 days.
Group D: This group received fatty mixture diet
with 15% powder of Cinnamomum cassia for
35 days.
Group E: This group received fatty mixture
diet and tablet atorvastatin at the dosage of 0.2
mg/kg body weight administered orally by
gastric intubation daily for 35 days.
Collection of blood specimens
The rats were kept fasted overnight before
taking the blood samples. All the animals were
anesthetized with diethyl ether and sacrificed.
Blood samples were collected in test tubes and
allowed to coagulate at room temperature. It
was then centrifuged at 3000 rpm for 30
minutes in a centrifuge machine. The clear
nonhemolysed supernatant sera was quickly
removed and stored at --20ºC for biochemical
analysis of serum lipid profile at the
Biochemistry department of Sir Salimullah
Medical College.
Biochemical Analysis
After collection of all blood specimens, serum
total cholesterol (TC), serum high density
lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and serum
triglycerides (TG) were measured by
enzymatic colorimetric (CHOD-PAP) method.
Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)
was calculated by Friedewald’s formula.
Statistical analysis
The data were analyzed using unpaired t test.
Results were expressed as mean ± SE and P
values <0.05 and <0.01 were considered statistically
significant and highly significant respectively.
Results
Experiment I: Table I shows the effect of cinnamon on
serum lipid profile of adult male rats. Serum total
cholesterol, serum LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and
serum triglyceride levels did not show any significant
difference between the Cinnamomum cassia treated group
(Group B) and the control group (Group A).
Table I: Effect of cinnamon on serum lipid profile of adult
male rats (A vs B)
Parameters Group A (n=6) Group B (n=6) P values
Mean ± SE Mean ± SE
Serum total 71.17±1.59 69.83 ± 3.04 > 0.05
cholesterol (mg/dL)
Serum TG (mg/dL)
78.10 ± 2.45 76.33 ± 1.93 > 0.05
Serum HDL
cholesterol (mg/dL)
31.50 ± 0.93 30.67 ± 4.87 > 0.05
Serum LDL
cholesterol (mg/dL)
26.61 ± 2.23 23.90 ± 6.00 > 0.05
Experiment II: Table II shows the effect of fatty mixture
feeding on serum lipid profile of adult male rats. Serum
total cholesterol, serum LDL cholesterol, and serum
triglyceride levels showed significant difference between
the fatty mixture diet group (Group C) and the control
group (Group A). But there was no change in serum HDL-C
level. Table III shows the effect of cinnamon on serum
lipid profile of adult male rats fed with fatty mixture diet.
Serum total cholesterol, serum LDL cholesterol, and serum
triglyceride levels decreased significantly in Group D
compared to Group C. But there was no change in serum
HDL level. Table IV shows the comparison of serum lipid
profile parameters between ‘fatty mixture diet + cinnamon
fed’ and fatty mixture diet + atorvastatin fed’ adult male
rats. It was found that atorvastatin significantly lowered
serum total cholesterol, serum triglyceride and serum LDL
cholesterol levels compared with the lowering effect of
cinnamon. But there was no change of HDL level.
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J Enam Med Col Vol 3 No 2 July 2013
Table II: Effect of fatty mixture feeding on serum lipid
profile of adult male rats (A vs C)
Parameters Group A (n=6) Group C (n=6) P values
Mean ± SE Mean ± SE
Serum total
cholesterol (mg/dL)
71.17 ± 1.59 136 ± 3.74 < 0.01
Serum TG (mg/dL)
78.10 ± 2.45 106.5 ± 2.85 < 0.01
Serum HDL
cholesterol (mg/dL)
31.50 ± 0.93 30.81± 2.78 > 0.05
Serum LDL
cholesterol (mg/dL)
26.61 ± 2.23 83.81 ± 5.6 < 0.01
Table III: Effect of cinnamon on serum lipid profile of adult
male rats fed with fatty mixture feed (C vs D)
Parameters Group C (n=6) Group D (n=6) P values
Mean ± SE Mean ± SE
Serum total
cholesterol (mg/dL)
136 ± 3.74 119.5 ± 2.68 < 0.01
Serum TG (mg/dL)
106.5 ± 2.85 92.13 ± 3.02 < 0.01
Serum HDL
cholesterol (mg/dL)
30.81 ± 2.78 29.17 ± 1.73 > 0.05
Serum LDL
cholesterol (mg/dL)
83.81 ± 5.61 71.91 ± 1.88 < 0.05
Table IV: Comparison of effects of cinnamon and atorvas-
tatin on serum lipid profile of fatty mixture diet
fed adult male rats (D vs E)
Parameters Group D (n=6) Group E (n=6) P values
Mean ± SE Mean ± SE
Serum total
cholesterol (mg/dL)
119.5 ± 2.68 83.83 ± 3.51 < 0.01
Serum TG (mg/dL)
92.13 ± 3.02 75.67 ± 2.18 < 0.01
Serum HDL
cholesterol (mg/dL)
29.17 ± 1.73 30.50 ± 2.09 > 0.05
Serum LDL
cholesterol (mg/dL)
71.91 ± 1.88 38.20 ± 3.73 < 0.01
Discussion
A growing body of research has demonstrated that the
commonly used herbs and spices such as garlic, black
cumin, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, five spices, bay leaves,
mustard and rosemary possess antimicrobial properties and
can be used therapeutically in some cases.7
Medicinal plants play a vital role for the
development of new drugs. The bioactive
extract should be standardized on the basis of
active compound and should undergo safety
studies. Almost 70% of modern medicines in
India are derived from natural products.
Medicinal plants play a central role not only as
traditional medicines but also as trade
commodities, meeting the demand of distant
markets.8
In experiment I, all conventionally measured
indicators (serum cholesterol, TG, LDL, and
HDL levels) of lipid profiles were slightly
changed in Group B as compared to those in
the control Group A. But changes were not
statistically significant. These findings support
the findings of another similar study.9
In experiment II, the effect of Cinnamomum
cassia was observed on serum lipid profile of
hyperlipidemic Long Evans rats. On
administrating the fatty diet, Group C showed
significant (P<0.01) increase of serum lipid
profile parameters (TC, TG, LDL-C) compared
to those of control group (Group A). This
finding indicates that fatty mixture diet that is
used to elevate the serum lipid profile
parameters was able to elevate all parameters
except HDL-C measured in this experiment.
Similar study done by Javed et al10 supports
the present study.
It was found in this study that 15% cinnamon
powder significantly decreased the serum TC,
TG, LDL-C approximately by 12%, 11% and
14% respectively (P<0.01, P<0.01 and P<0.05)
of fatty mixture diet fed rats; but HDL-C level
was not significantly changed. Soheir et al11
administered 15% cinnamon powder in
hypercholesterolemic diabetic rats and found
decreased plasma cholesterol from 268 to 121
mg/dL (54%), TG levels from 228 mg/dL to
100 mg/dL (56%) and LDL-C from 211 mg/dL
to 61 mg/dL (71%) and HDL-C increased from
36 mg/dL to 63 mg/dL (75%). As Soheir et al
performed their study on diabetic rats fed on
basal diet (corn starch 70%, casein 10%, corn
seed oil 10%, cellulose 5%, salt mixture 4%
and vitamins mixture 1%), this might be the
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J Enam Med Col Vol 3 No 2 July 2013
possible cause of difference in lipid-lowering effects
of cinnamon between these studies.
In this study administration of atorvastatin at 0.2
mg/kg body weight for 35 days decreased serum
cholesterol, TG, LDL-C approximately by 38%, 28%
and 54% respectively of fatty mixture diet fed rats.
HDL-C level was not changed significantly. These
findings support study of Amin et al.4
Cinnamon might have a direct role in lipid
metabolism and prevent hypercholesterolemia and
hypertriglyceridemia and lower free fatty acids by its
strong lipolytic activity. Dietary cinnamate inhibits
the hepatic HMG Co-A reductase activity resulting
in lower hepatic cholesterol content and suppresses
lipid peroxidation via enhancement of hepatic
antioxidant enzyme activity.12
Cinnamomum cassia may have an effect on treating
hyperlipidemia and thereby may be responsible for
the prevention of consequences of the aging process,
from hypertension to heart failure, cardiovascular
diseases and myocardial infarction. Therefore,
further studies could establish the effect of
Cinnamomum cassia on hyperlipidemic human
beings.
From the findings of the present study, it can be
concluded that Cinnamomum cassia has
hypolipidemic effect on hypercholesterolemic rats
under different experimental conditions. Before
establishing Cinnamomum cassia as a therapeutically
effective hypolipidemic agent, further studies should
be carried out to determine the active principle
responsible for hypolipidemic effect and its cellular
mechanism of action.
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... Carrots are rich in Beta-carotene while Tomatoes contain lycopene predominantly [40]. Fuhrman et al (85). Cholesterol synthesis from [3H]-acetate but not that from [ 14C] mevalonate in the macrophage cell line J-774A. ...
... It shows a decline in total cholesterol and LDL Cholesterol. Its hypocholesterolemic activity shows an improvement in cardiovascular function [84,85]. ...
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