Oral Administration of CardioAid and Lunasin Alleviates Liver Damage in a High-Fat Diet Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Model

Digestion. 2017;96(2):110-118. doi: 10.1159/000479734. Epub 2017 Aug 11.


Background: Several of the drugs in development for treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) target liver fibrosis or have side effects that prohibit their long-term use in patients with mild to moderate disease. Lunasin is a soy-derived peptide with anti-inflammatory properties. ADM's CardioAidâ„¢ is a plant sterol extract that exerts cholesterol- and triacylglycerol-lowering effects.

Aim: To determine the immunomodulatory effects of CardioAid and lunasin in a high-fat diet (HFD) animal model of NASH.

Methods: C57BL/6 mice on an HFD were orally administered CardioAid or lunasin for 25 weeks. The effects on the immune system, liver function, insulin resistance and lipid profile were studied.

Results: Treatment with CardioAid and lunasin was associated with a significant decrease in the CD4/CD8 ratio and an increase in CD4+CD25+ lymphocytes. A decrease in interleukin 1-alpha serum levels and an increase in transforming growth factor beta serum levels were noted. These were associated with alleviation of liver damage as indicated by a significant decrease in liver enzymes and improvement in the histological nonalcoholic fatty liver disease activity score (NAS). Decreases in both serum triglyceride and serum glucose levels were observed in treated mice. A decrease in total body fat measured by EchoMRI was also observed in treated mice.

Conclusions: CardioAid and lunasin exerted hepatoprotective and glucose-protective effects in an HFD NASH model. These data and the high-safety profiles of CardioAid and Lunasin support their use in patients in the early stages of NASH to prevent deterioration due to the disease.

Keywords: High-fat diet; Lunasin; Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Plant sterols.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / blood
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / immunology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Protective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Soybean Proteins / pharmacology
  • Soybean Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Sterols / therapeutic use
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • GM2S-1 protein, soybean
  • Plant Extracts
  • Protective Agents
  • Soybean Proteins
  • Sterols
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol