Meju, a naturally fermented soy block used to produce soy paste and soy sauce in Korea, is suggested to exhibit hypolipidemic and antiinflammatory activities; however, its mechanisms of action are elusive. Here, we report that the water-soluble fibers but not the amino acids and peptides from meju exhibited hypolipidemic activity in vivo. Feeding of fermented soybean fibers (FSF) from meju reduced plasma cholesterol, triglyceride, adipocyte size, and hepatic lipid accumulation in C57BL/6 J mice. FSF treatment reduced HMG-CoA reductase expression, whereas the expression of genes in the fatty acid uptake and subsequent beta-oxidation were significantly induced in the livers. Hepatic lipogenic genes, including Srebp1c and Lxrá, were unaltered. Feeding with the fermented soybean peptides and amino acids (FSPA) induced the expression of lipogenic genes, which may have canceled the induction of low-density lipoprotein receptor and Cyp7a1 gene expressions in FSPA livers. The plasma concentrations of C-reactive protein, TNF-&alpha, and interlukin-6 were significantly reduced in the FSF, FSPA, and meju groups compared with the control groups, suggesting that both of the fibers and peptides/amino acids from meju may be beneficial. These findings suggest that soluble fibers from meju are critical hypolipidemic components that regulate hepatic gene expressions and reduce proinflammatory cytokines in vivo.
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