Legumin from chickpea: hypolipidemic effect in the liver of hypercholesterolemic rats
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Purpose – This paper aims to determine the effects of 11S globulin isolated from Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) on lipid metabolism in animals subjected to a hypercholesterolemic and hyperlipidemic diet and compared to the drug simvastatin. Design/methodology/approach – Thirty-six male Wistar rats, kept in individual cages and under appropriate conditions, were separated into groups that were fed a normal diet (STD) containing casein as protein source and according to AIN-93G; a high-cholesterol diet (HC), normal diet plus 1 per cent cholesterol and 0.5 per cent cholic acid and 20 per cent coconut oil; HC diet plus the isolated 11S globulin (300 mg/kg/day); and HC diet plus the simvastatin (50 mg/kg/day), both dissolved in saline and administered by gavage for 28 days. After this time, the animals were killed. Findings – The results indicated that the addition of 1 per cent cholesterol and 0.5 per cent cholic acid induced hypercholesterolemia in the animals without interfering with their weight gain. Analyses of total cholesterol (TC), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides (TG) in the plasma, and TC and TG in the liver were made. The results show that the protein isolated from chickpea, and given as a single daily dose, did not affect the levels of plasma TC and its fractions, although decreasing the TG levels. Unlike the simvastatin, the chickpea protein significantly reduced TC and TG in the liver relative to HC group. Originality/value – A single daily dose of 11S globulin from chickpea contributed as only as additional 2.8 per cent of dietary protein intake. These findings demonstrate that 11S chickpea protein acts as a functional agent in the lipid metabolism in addition to its nutritional properties.