Previous studies have demonstrated that the ingestion of açaí pulp can improve serum lipid profile in various animal models; therefore, we hypothesized that açaí pulp (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) may modulate the expression of the genes involved in cholesterol homeostasis in the liver and increase fecal excretion, thus reducing serum cholesterol. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the expression of 7α-hydroxylase and ATP-binding cassette, subfamily G transporters (ABCG5 and ABCG8), which are genes involved with the secretion of cholesterol in the rat. We also evaluated the expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase, low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDL-R), and apolipoprotein B100, which are involved in cholesterol biosynthesis. Female Fischer rats were divided into 4 groups: the C group, which was fed a standard AIN-93 M diet; the CA group, which was fed a standard diet supplemented with 2% açaí pulp; the H group, which was fed a hypercholesterolemic diet (25% soy oil and 1% cholesterol); and the HA group, which was fed a hypercholesterolemic diet supplemented with 2% açaí pulp. At the end of the experimental period, the rats were euthanized, and their blood and livers were collected. The HA group exhibited a significant decrease in serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and atherogenic index and also had increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and cholesterol excretion in feces compared with the H group. In addition, the expression of the LDL-R, ABCG5, and ABCG8 genes was significantly increased by the presence of açaí pulp. These results suggest that açaí pulp promotes a hypocholesterolemic effect in a rat model of dietary-induced hypercholesterolemia through an increase in the expression of ATP-binding cassette, subfamily G transporters, and LDL-R genes.
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