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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 320304, 15 pages
Research Article

Suppression of Diet-Induced Hypercholesterolemia by Turtle Jelly, A Traditional Chinese Functional Food, in Rats

1State Key Laboratory of Chinese Medicine and Molecular Pharmacology, 518057 Shenzhen, China
2Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
3Food Safety and Technology Research Centre, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Received 28 April 2012; Revised 6 August 2012; Accepted 28 August 2012

Academic Editor: Y. Ohta

Copyright © 2012 Jian-Hong Wu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Consumption of functional foods for lowering serum cholesterol has globally gained acceptance by the general public. Turtle jelly (TJ), also called gui-ling-gao, is a popular traditional functional food in southern China. The hypocholesterolemic effect of consuming TJ was investigated in rats fed with normal diet, high-cholesterol diet or high-cholesterol diet supplemented with simvastatin (3 mg/kg bw per day, p.o.) or TJ (3.3 or 10 mL/kg bw per day, p.o.) for 30 days. TJ markedly reversed the increased serum total cholesterol, increased high-density lipoprotein, and decreased high-density lipoprotein induced by hypercholesterolemic diet with a dose-dependent improvement on the atherogenic index. It also demonstrated good hepatoprotective function by reducing fat depositions and overall lipid contents in the liver and increasing the activities of hepatic antioxidative enzymes. The blunted nitric oxide/endothelium-mediated aortic relaxation in rats fed with hypercholesterolemic diet was partially restored after TJ consumption. It is postulated that the hypocholesterolemic effect is the primary beneficial effect given by TJ; it then leads to secondary beneficial effects such as vasoprotective and hepatoprotective functions. The results revealed that TJ could block the downregulation of LDLR and PEPCK and upregulation of PPARα mRNA and protein expressions in the livers of rats fed with hypercholesterolemic diet.