Objective: We recently identified esculeoside A, a new spirosolane-type glycoside, with a content in tomatoes that is 4-fold higher than that of lycopene. In the present study, we examined the effects of esculeoside A and esculeogenin A, a new aglycon of esculeoside A, on foam cell formation in vitro and atherogenesis in apoE-deficient mice.
Methods and results: Esculeogenin A significantly inhibited the accumulation of cholesterol ester (CE) induced by acetylated low density lipoprotein (acetyl-LDL) in human monocyte-derived macrophages (HMDM) in a dose-dependent manner without inhibiting triglyceride accumulation, however, it did not inhibit the association of acetyl-LDL to the cells. Esculeogenin A also inhibited CE formation in Chinese hamster ovary cells overexpressing acyl-coenzymeA (CoA): cholesterol acyl-transferase (ACAT)-1 or ACAT-2, suggesting that esculeogenin A suppresses the activity of both ACAT-1 and ACAT-2. Furthermore, esculeogenin A prevented the expression of ACAT-1 protein, whereas that of SR-A and SR-BI was not suppressed. Oral administration of esculeoside A to apoE-deficient mice significantly reduced the levels of serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol, and the areas of atherosclerotic lesions without any detectable side effects.
Conclusions: Our study provides the first evidence that purified esculeogenin A significantly suppresses the activity of ACAT protein and leads to reduction of atherogenesis.