Scope: Xanthohumol (XN), a prenylated antioxidative and anti-inflammatory chalcone from hops, exhibits positive effects on lipid and glucose metabolism. Based on its favorable biological properties, we investigated whether XN attenuates atherosclerosis in western-type diet-fed apolipoprotein-E-deficient (ApoE⁻/⁻) mice.
Methods and results: XN supplementation markedly reduced plasma cholesterol concentrations, decreased atherosclerotic lesion area, and attenuated plasma concentrations of the proinflammatory cytokine monocyte chemoattractant protein 1. Decreased hepatic triglyceride and cholesterol content, activation of AMP-activated protein kinase, phosphorylation and inactivation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase, and reduced expression levels of mature sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP)-2 and SREBP-1c mRNA indicate reduced lipogenesis in the liver of XN-fed ApoE⁻/⁻ mice. Concomitant induction of hepatic mRNA expression of carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1a in ApoE⁻/⁻ mice-administered XN suggests increased fatty acid beta-oxidation. Fecal cholesterol concentrations were also markedly increased in XN-fed ApoE⁻/⁻ mice compared with mice fed western-type diet alone.
Conclusion: The atheroprotective effects of XN might be attributed to combined beneficial effects on plasma cholesterol and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 concentrations and hepatic lipid metabolism via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase.
Keywords: AMPK signaling; Atherosclerosis; Inflammation; Lipid metabolism; Xanthohumol.
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