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Volume 51, Number 1, February 2018

The blood lipid regulation of Monascus-produced monascin and ankaflavin via the suppression of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol assembly and stimulation of apolipoprotein A1 expression in the liver 

Chun-Lin Lee, Ja-Yan Wen, Ya-Wen Hsu, Tzu-Ming Pan


Corresponding author:

Tzu-Ming Pan, Corresponding author. Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, National Taiwan University, Number 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan, ROC. 


Background and purpose: 

Monascin (MS) and ankaflavin (AK) produced by Monascus purpureus NTU 568 were proven to show excellent hypolipidemic effects in our previous studies; however, the mechanism is still unclear.




This study used MS, AK, and monacolin K as test substances and performed tests on rats fed high-fat and high-cholesterol diet for 8 weeks. The lipid levels and the related protein levels of the rats were assessed to understand the effects of MS, AK, and monacolin K on lipid metabolism. 



MS and AK lowered low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and preserved high-density lipoprotein cholesterol contents. MS and AK inhibited acetyl-coenzyme A acetyltransferase, microsomal triglyceride transfer protein, and apolipoprotein (apo) B-100 expression, thereby preventing LDL assembly. In addition, enhanced LDL-receptor expression increased the transport of LDL-C to the liver for metabolism. MS and AK also significantly increase apo A1 expression, which facilitates high-density lipoprotein cholesterol formation.




Monascus-fermented MS and AK can perform blood lipid regulation via the suppression of LDL-C assembly and stimulation of apo A1 expression in liver. 


Key words:

ankaflavin, hyperlipidemia, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, monascin, Monascus