Cholesterol-lowering action of psyllium mucilloid in the hamster: Sites and possible mechanisms of action

Stephen D. Turley, Bruce P. Daggy, John M. Dietschy

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87 Scopus citations


These studies were undertaken to examine and compare the metabolic effects of psyllium mucilloid and two other nonabsorbable polymers (cholestyramine and surfomer) on sterol metabolism in the hamster. These three agents all significantly lowered the plasma total cholesterol concentration and the level of cholesterol carried in low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Rates of cholesterol synthesis were markedly increased in the livers of the psyllium-fed animals, but not in other tissues. In contrast, cholestyramine and surfomer feeding increased both hepatic and intestinal sterol synthesis. When cholesterol and saturated triacylglycerols were added to the diet, psyllium feeding essentially completely blocked the increase in the plasma cholesterol concentration and hepatic cholesterol content and the suppression of cholesterol synthesis. The pool of bile acid in the small intestine was increased from the control value (17.9 μmol/animal) by both psyllium (23.0 μmol) and cholestyramine (21.9 μmol) feeding. However, this pool was readily absorbed and secreted into the bile in the psyllium-fed animals ( 27.9 μmol 4 h), but not in the cholestyramine-treated hamsters ( 13.0 μmol 4 h). This was consistent with the further observation that there was no binding of bile acid by psyllium under in vitro conditions. Thus, these findings indicate that all three polymers lower plasma cholesterol concentrations by inducing a net negative cholesterol balance across the liver. With psyllium, this effect is presumably articulated through a reduction in cholesterol absorption, as well as an increase in the rate of degradation of cholesterol to bile acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1063-1073
Number of pages11
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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