Open Access Open Badges Short report

Influence of a prudent diet on circulating cathepsin S in humans

Elisabeth Jobs1, Viola Adamsson2, Anders Larsson4, Magnus Jobs3, Elisabet Nerpin1, Erik Ingelsson4, Johan Ärnlöv34 and Ulf Risérus2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences/Geriatrics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

2 Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Uppsala University, 75185 Uppsala Science Park, Sweden

3 Dalarna University, School of Health and Social Studies, Falun, Sweden

4 Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

Nutrition Journal 2014, 13:84  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-84

Published: 16 August 2014



Increased circulating cathepsin S levels have been linked to increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases and cancer. However, whether cathepsin S is a modifiable risk factor is unclear. We aimed to investigate the effects of a prudent diet on plasma cathepsin S levels in healthy individuals.


Explorative analyses of a randomized study were performed in 88 normal to slightly overweight and hyperlipidemic men and women (aged 25 to 65) that were randomly assigned to ad libitum prudent diet, i.e. healthy Nordic diet (ND) or a control group (habitual Western diet) for 6 weeks. Whereas all foods in the ND were provided, the control group was advised to consume their habitual diet throughout the study. The ND was in line with dietary recommendations, e.g. low in saturated fats, sugars and salt, but high in plant-based foods rich in fibre and unsaturated fats.

The ND significantly decreased cathepsin S levels (from 20.1 (+/-4.0 SD) to 19.7 μg/L (+/-4.3 SD)) compared with control group (from 18.2 (+/-2.9 SD) to 19.1 μg/L (+/-3.8 SD)). This difference remained after adjusting for sex and change in insulin sensitivity (P = 0.03), and near significant after adjusting for baseline cathepsin S levels (P = 0.06), but not for change in weight or LDL-C. Changes in cathepsin S levels were directly correlated with change in LDL-C.


Compared with a habitual control diet, a provided ad libitum healthy Nordic diet decreased cathepsin S levels in healthy individuals, possibly mediated by weight loss or lowered LDL-C. These differences between groups in cathepsin S were however not robust and therefore need further investigation.

Nordic prudent diet; Cathepsin S; Weight loss; Cardiometabolic risk factors