Background: Nanoparticle processing is implicated in enhancing bioactive or nutritional compound release from raw foods. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether different particle processing might affect the lipid-lowering activity of Dioscorea pseudojaponica (DP) and to investigate whether DP could be a potential functional food for prevention of atherogenesis. Its possible molecular mechanisms were also evaluated. Results: The results indicated that 50 mesh-size DP (50 mesh DP) particles exhibited stronger effects than nanoscale DP (nano DP) particles in terms of lowering the level of serum cholesterol as well as reducing the extent of fatty liver and aortic fatty streak. Moreover, both DP particle types, particularly 50 mesh DP, significantly activated AMPK (5′-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) and deactivated ACC (acetyl-CoA carboxylase), as demonstrated by the increased levels of both enzymes in their phosphorylated form. Coincidently, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis showed a higher content (P <0.01) of dioscin, a known lipid-lowering compound, in 50 mesh DP than in nano DP. Conclusion: These results suggest that improper processing conditions will lead to the decomposition of bioactive components in yam. They also demonstrate for the first time that the lipid-lowering mechanisms of DP may occur through the AMPK-ACC pathway.
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