Very recently, proteins and protein sources, gained prominence within the study of bioactive foods because they are described as suppliers of bioactive peptides involved in several metabolic processes after this digestion by natural or synthetic enzymes. The cowpea bean (Vigna unguiculata l. Walp) is one of the main subsistence crops and a brazilian exportation product. Recent surveys have shown sufficient evidence that cowpea protein is able to reduce total cholesterol and improve LDL/HDL profile in humans, however, the mechanism of action is not yet clear. Thus, this study proposes to investigate the mechanisms by which the peptides from cowpea are possibly able to modulate the biosynthesis and cholesterol absorption. After an in vitro enzymatic hydrolysis of isolated protein fractions smaller than 3 kDa will be incubated in Caco-2 cell cultures and their permeated isolated and sequenced. After the permeation, evaluated the effect of hydrolysates on the gene expression of receptors NPC1L1, ABCG5, ABCA1 and ABCG1, ABCG8 of Caco-2. The bioavailable peptides identified and sequenced from permeation will be incubated together with Hep-G2 cells to assess the gene expression of LDL receptor and HMGCR. This research is expected to clarify the possible mechanisms related to the hypocholesterolemic capacity of cowpea, using in vitro models of intestinal and hepatic lineage cells.
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