Chitosan is sold worldwide as a lipid-lowering functional food and may be taken with certain medications. To investigate the effect of chitosan on drug-metabolizing enzymes and oxidative stress in the liver, male Wistar rats were fed a low- or high-fat diet with cellulose or chitosan for 4 weeks. A significant decrease in cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A-catalyzed testosterone 6beta-hydroxylation in liver microsomes was observed in rats fed the chitosan with low- and high-fat diets. The expression of CYP 3A1 and 3A2, however, was suppressed by chitosan in rats fed the low-fat diet only. Furthermore, rats fed the low-fat diet with chitosan had lower hepatic glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity and superoxide dismutase activity and higher total tissue and microsomal lipid hydroperoxides. Hepatic alpha-tocopherol was lower in rats fed the chitosan-containing diet. The results suggest that chitosan is likely to modulate CYP 3A activity and protein expression and GST activity partially in a dietary fat-dependent manner. This change may cause a decrease in the metabolism of drugs catalyzed by these enzymes in liver tissues. Moreover, decrease of alpha-tocopherol level and SOD activity by chitosan partly accounts for the increase of hepatic lipid peroxidation.
JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD CHEMISTRY;58(8):5187-93.