Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are distinguished from other triglycerides in that each fat molecule consists of 6 to 12 carbons in length. MCTs and long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) are absorbed and utilized in different ways. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of replacing soybean oil with MCT oil, in a low- or high-fat diet, on lipid metabolism in rats with streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). There were, thirty-two T2DM Sprague-Dawley rats divided into low-fat-soybean oil (LS), low-fat-MCT oil (LM), high-fat-soybean oil (HS), and high-fat-MCT oil (HM) groups. After 8 weeks, blood sugar, serum lipids, liver lipids, and enzyme activities related to lipid metabolism were measured. Under a high-fat diet condition, replacement of soybean oil with MCT oil lowered serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), non-esterified fatty acids, and liver total cholesterol; whilst it increased serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and the HDL-C/LDL-C ratio. A low-fat diet with MCT oil resulted in lower body weight and reproductive white adipose tissues compared to the HS groups, and higher hepatic acyl-CoA oxidase activities (the key enzyme in the peroxisomal beta-oxidation) compared to the LS group in T2DM rats. In conclusion, MCTs showed more protective effects on cardiovascular health in T2DM rats fed a high-fat diet, by improving serum lipid profiles and reducing hepatic total cholesterol.
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