Cholesterol lowering and vascular protective effects of ethanolic extract of dried fruit of Crataegus pinnatifida, hawthorn (Shan Zha), in diet-induced hypercholesterolaemic rat model

Ching Yee Kwok, Chang Li, Huan Le Cheng, Yam Fung Ng, Tak Yi Chan, Yiu Wa Kwan, George Pak Heng Leung, Simon Ming Yuen Lee, Kam Wah Mok, Peter Hoi Fu Yu, Shun Wan Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Consumption of functional foods for managing plasma cholesterol level has gained acceptance globally. The hypocholesterolaemic and vascular protective effects of the dried fruit of Crataegus pinnatifida, hawthorn (Shan Zha), were investigated in rats fed with normal diet, high cholesterol diet (HCD) or HCD plus Shan Zha 80% ethanolic extract treatment (30 or 100. mg/kg/day, p.o.) for 4. weeks. Shan Zha extract markedly reversed the increased plasma total cholesterol and high density lipoprotein cholesterol induced by HCD with a dose-dependent improvement on the atherogenic index. It also demonstrated good hepatoprotective function by reducing lipid content in the liver. The blunted endothelium-mediated aortic relaxation in HCD-fed rats was restored by high dosage of Shan Zha extract treatment. The current results showed that Shan Zha extract could provide its cholesterol lowering effect by up-regulating hepatic CYP7A1 mRNA expression which leads to enhanced bile acid biosynthesis. It is postulated that the hypocholesterolaemic effect is the primary beneficial effect given by Shan Zha extract; it then leads to other secondary beneficial effects such as vascular protective and hepatoprotective functions. Thus, Shan Zha extract could provide an overall improvement on the hepatic and vascular systems that may be important in relieving hypercholesterolaemia-related complications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1326-1335
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013


  • Anti-atherogenic
  • Cholersterol
  • Crataegus pinnatifida
  • Hawthorn
  • Hypocholesterolaemic
  • Vascular protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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