Yerba Mate tea (Mate), an infusion made from the leaves of the tree Ilex paraguariensis, is a widely consumed beverage in South America. Mate has previously been shown to have hypolipidemic effects. However, its mechanism of action is not well understood. This study was conducted to determine the effect of Mate on hyperlipidemia induced in hamsters by a high-fat diet, as well as its mechanism of action. Fifty male hamsters were randomly assigned to normal control, high-fat control, and high-fat with Mate tea aqueous extract (1%, 2% or 4% w/v) groups. We evaluated the effects of Mate aqueous extract on body weight, serum lipids, antioxidant enzyme activity, lipoprotein metabolism enzyme activity, and gene expression involved in lipid metabolism in hyperlipidemic hamsters. Mate aqueous extract significantly decreased body-weight gain and lowered serum lipid levels in the hyperlipidemic hamster model. Meanwhile, Mate treatment increased antioxidant enzyme activity, improved lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and hepatic lipase (HL) activities in serum and liver, upregulated mRNA expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α and low density lipoprotein receptor, and downregulated mRNA expression of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1c and acetyl CoA carboxylase in the liver. The results indicate that Mate tea ameliorates hyperlipidemia partly by reducing lipid peroxidation, improving endothelial function and LPL and HL activities, and modulating the expression levels of genes involved in lipid oxidation and lipogenesis.
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