Sterol oxidation products derived from cholesterol and phytosterol are formed during the processing and storage of foods. The objective of the present study was to assess the potential unfavorable effects of oxysterols in mice. C57BL/6J mice were fed an AIN-93G-based diet containing 0.2 g/kg of oxycholesterol or oxyphytosterol for 4 weeks. The most abundant oxysterol in the diet was 7-ketosterol, but α-epoxycholesterol, β-epoxycholesterol, or 7α-hydroxyphytosterol, and 7β-hydroxyphytosterol were more prominent than 7-ketosterol in the serum and liver respectively. Consumption of both oxysterols resulted in an increased in 4β-hydroxycholesterol and total oxycholesterol in the liver, but the oxycholesterol-fed mice had a lower level of cerebral 24S-hydroxycholesterol and a higher level of the serum triacylglycerols than the control and oxyphytosterol groups. These results indicate that both oxysterols in the diet are accumulated in the body, but that the biological effect of oxycholesterol is different from that of oxyphytosterol.
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