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.