Objective: Procyanidins are polyphenolic compounds with beneficial effects on health in relation to cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. In this study, we evaluated the potential beneficial effects of low doses of a grape seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) on body weight and fat deposition.
Design: Four groups of hamsters were fed either a standard diet (STD) or a high-fat diet (HFD) for 30 days and supplemented with either GSPE at 25 mg per kg of body weight per day (STD-GSPE and HFD-GSPE groups) or vehicle (STD and HFD groups) during the last 15 days of the study.
Results: A significant decrease in body weight gain was observed in both GSPE-treated animals at the end of the experiment. GSPE treatment significantly reduced the adiposity index and the weight of all the white adipose tissue depots studied (retroperitoneal (RWAT), mesenteric (MWAT), epididymal (EWAT) and inguinal (IWAT)) in both GSPE-treated groups. GSPE administration reversed the increase in plasma phospholipids induced by the HFD feeding. In the RWAT, GSPE treatment increased the mRNA expression of genes related to β-oxidation and the glycerolipid/free fatty acid (GL/FFA) cycle, mainly in HFD-GSPE animals. In the MWAT, the effects of GSPE at the transcriptional level were not as evident as in the RWAT. Moreover, GSPE treatment induced heparin-releasable lipoprotein lipase activity in the RWAT and MWAT depots. The alterations in the lipid metabolic pathways induced by GSPE were accompanied by lower FFA levels in the plasma and decreased lipid and triglyceride accumulation in the MWAT.
Conclusion: The use of GSPE at low doses protects against fat accumulation and improves the plasma lipid profile in hamsters. We suggest that GSPE exerts these effects in part through the activation of both β-oxidation and the GL/FFA cycle, mainly in the RWAT.