Great Northern Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) Lower Cholesterol in Hamsters Fed a High-Saturated-Fat Diet

An T. Nguyen, Sami A. Althwab, Haowen Qiu, Richard Zbasnik, Carlos Urrea, Timothy P. Carr, Vicki Schlegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Dietary interventions for high cholesterol, a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, are generally considered before prescribing drugs. Objective: This study investigated the effects of whole Great Northern beans (wGNBs) and their hull (hGNB) incorporated into a high-saturated-fat (HSF) diet on cholesterol markers and hepatic/small intestinal genes involved in cholesterol regulation. Methods: Each of the 4 groups of 11 male golden Syrian hamsters at 9 wk old were fed a normal-fat [NF; 5% (wt:wt) of soybean oil], HSF [5% (wt:wt) of soybean oil + 10% (wt:wt) of coconut oil], HSF+5% (wt:wt) wGNB, or HSF+0.5% (wt:wt) hGNB diet for 4 wk. Cholesterol markers and expression of genes involved in cholesterol metabolism and absorption were analyzed from plasma, liver, intestinal, and fecal samples. Data were analyzed by 1-factor ANOVA and Pearson correlations. Results: Compared with the HSF group, the HSF+wGNB group had 62% and 85% lower plasma and liver cholesterol and 3.6-fold and 1.4-fold greater fecal excretion of neutral sterol and bile acid, respectively (P ≤ 0.05). The HSF+hGNB group had 54% lower plasma triglycerides (P < 0.001) and 53% lower liver esterified cholesterol (P = 0.0002) than the HSF group. Compared with the HSF group, the expression of small intestinal Niemann-Pick C1 like 1 (Npc1l1), acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyltransferase 2 (Acat2), and ATP binding cassette transporter subfamily G member 5 (Abcg5) were 75%, 70%, and 49% lower, respectively, and expression of hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA reductase (Hmgr) was 11.5-fold greater in the HSF+wGNB group (P ≤ 0.05). Conclusions: Consumption of wGNBs resulted in lower cholesterol concentration in male hamsters fed an HSF diet by promoting fecal cholesterol excretion, most likely caused by Npc1l1 and Acat2 suppression. The hGNB may partially contribute to the cholesterol-lowering effect of the wGNBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2080-2087
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Great Northern bean
  • cholesterol
  • gene expression
  • hamster
  • saturated fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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