Ellagic acid attenuates high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats

Eur J Nutr. 2013 Mar;52(2):559-68. doi: 10.1007/s00394-012-0358-9. Epub 2012 Apr 27.


Background: Fruits and nuts may prevent or reverse common human health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension; together, these conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome, an increasing problem. This study has investigated the responses to ellagic acid, present in many fruits and nuts, in a diet-induced rat model of metabolic syndrome.

Methods: Eight- to nine-week-old male Wistar rats were divided into four groups for 16-week feeding with cornstarch diet (C), cornstarch diet supplemented with ellagic acid (CE), high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet (H) and high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet supplemented with ellagic acid (HE). CE and HE rats were given 0.8 g/kg ellagic acid in food from week 8 to 16 only. At the end of 16 weeks, cardiovascular, hepatic and metabolic parameters along with protein levels of Nrf2, NF-κB and CPT1 in the heart and the liver were characterised.

Results: High-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-fed rats developed cardiovascular remodelling, impaired ventricular function, impaired glucose tolerance, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with increased protein levels of NF-κB and decreased protein levels of Nrf2 and CPT1 in the heart and the liver. Ellagic acid attenuated these diet-induced symptoms of metabolic syndrome with normalisation of protein levels of Nrf2, NF-κB and CPT1.

Conclusions: Ellagic acid derived from nuts and fruits such as raspberries and pomegranates may provide a useful dietary supplement to decrease the characteristic changes in metabolism and in cardiac and hepatic structure and function induced by a high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet by suppressing oxidative stress and inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Cardiovascular System / physiopathology
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase / analysis
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Echocardiography
  • Ellagic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Fruit
  • Glucose Intolerance / physiopathology
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / physiology
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / analysis
  • NF-kappa B / analysis
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Nuts
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NF-kappa B
  • Nfe2l2 protein, rat
  • Ellagic Acid
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase