Due to poor water solubility and high susceptibility to chemical degradation, the applications of quercetin have been limited. This study investigated the effects of pH on the formation of quercetin-loaded nanoemulsion (NQ) and compared the hypocholesterolemic activity between quercetin and NQ to utilize the quercetin as functional food ingredient. NQ particle size exhibited a range of 207–289 nm with polydispersity index range (<0.47). The encapsulation efficiency increased stepwise from 56 to 92% as the pH increased from 4.0 to 9.0. Good stability of NQ was achieved in the pH range of 6.5–9.0 during 3-month storage at 21 and 37 °C. NQ displayed higher efficacy in reducing serum and hepatic cholesterol levels and increasing the release of bile acid into feces in rats fed high-cholesterol diet, compared to quercetin alone. NQ upregulated hepatic gene expression involved in bile acid synthesis and cholesterol efflux, such as cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP7A1), liver X receptor alpha (LXRα), ATP-binding cassette transporter A1 (ABCA1) and ATP-binding cassette sub-family G member 1 (ABCG1). These results suggest at least partial involvement of hepatic bile acid synthesis and fecal cholesterol excretion in nanoemulsion quercetin-mediated beneficial effect on lipid abnormalities.
- Hypocholesterolemic activity