Pomegranate flower ameliorates fatty liver in an animal model of type 2 diabetes and obesity

J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jun 22;123(2):280-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.03.035. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


Aims of the study: Fatty liver is the most common cause of abnormal liver function tests. We investigated the effect and its underlying mechanism of pomegranate flower (PGF), a traditional antidiabetic medicine, on fatty liver.

Materials and methods: At the endpoint of treatment of male Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats with PGF extract (500 mg/kg, p.o. x 6 weeks), liver weight index, hepatic lipid contents (enzymatic colorimetric methods) and droplet accumulation (Oil Red O staining) were determined. Gene profiles (RT-PCR) were analyzed in the liver of ZDF rats and in human liver-derived HepG2 cell line.

Results: PGF-treated ZDF rats showed reduced ratio of liver weight to tibia length, hepatic triglyceride contents and lipid droplets. These effects were accompanied by enhanced hepatic gene expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-alpha, carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 and acyl-CoA oxidase (ACO), and reduced stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1. In contrast, PGF showed minimal effects on expression of genes responsible for synthesis, hydrolysis or uptake of fatty acid and triglycerides. PGF treatment also increased PPAR-alpha and ACO mRNA levels in HepG2 cells.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that this Unani medicine ameliorates diabetes and obesity-associated fatty liver, at least in part, by activating hepatic expression of genes responsible for fatty acid oxidation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / genetics
  • Fatty Liver / prevention & control*
  • Flowers
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lythraceae / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • PPAR alpha / drug effects
  • PPAR alpha / genetics
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Zucker


  • PPAR alpha
  • Plant Extracts
  • RNA, Messenger