Plant sterols such as sitosterol and campesterol are frequently applied as functional food in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Recently, it became clear that plasma derived plant sterols accumulate in murine brains. We questioned whether plant sterols in the brain are associ/+ mice for serum and brain plant sterol accumulation and behavioral and cognitive performance. Serum and brain plant sterol concentrations were respectively 35-70-fold and 5-12-fold increased in Abcg5-/- mice (P<0.001). Plant sterol accumulation resulted in decreased levels of desmosterol (P<0.01) and 24(S)-hydroxycholesterol (P<0.01) in the hippocampus, the brain region important for learning and memory functions, and increased lanosterol levels (P<0.01) in the cortex. However, Abcg5-/- and Abcg5+/+ displayed no differences in memory functions or in anxiety and mood related behavior. The swimming speed of the Abcg5-/- mice was slightly higher compared to Abcg5+/+ mice (P<0.001). In conclusion, plant sterols in the brains of Abcg5-/- mice did have consequences for brain cholesterol metabolism, but did not lead to an overt phenotype of memory or anxiety related behavior. Thus, our data provide no contra-indication for nutritional intake of plant sterol enriched nutrition.

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Plant Foods for Human Nutrition
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Vanmierlo, T., Rutten, K., van Vark-van der Zee, L., Friedrichs, S., Bloks, V., Blokland, A., … Mulder, M. (2011). Cerebral Accumulation of Dietary Derivable Plant Sterols does not Interfere with Memory and Anxiety Related Behavior in Abcg5-/- Mice. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 66(2), 149–156. doi:10.1007/s11130-011-0219-3