Acerola contains high levels of vitamin C and rutin and shows the corresponding antioxidant properties. Oxidative stress on the other hand is an important factor in the development of obesity. In this study, we investigated the biochemical and antigenotoxic effects of acerola juice in different stages of maturity (unripe, ripe and industrial) and its main pharmacologically active components vitamin C and rutin, when given as food supplements to obese mice. Initial HPLC analyses confirmed that all types of acerola juice contained high levels of vitamin C and rutin. DPPH tests quantified the antioxidant properties of these juices and revealed higher antioxidant potentials compared to pure vitamin C and rutin. In an animal test series, groups of male mice were fed on a standard (STA) or a cafeteria (CAF) diet for 13 weeks. The latter consisted of a variety of supermarket products, rich in sugar and fat. This CAF diet increased the feed efficiency, but also induced glucose intolerance and DNA damage, which was established by comet assays and micronucleus tests. Subsequently, CAF mice were given additional diet supplements (acerola juice, vitamin C or rutin) for one month and the effects on bone marrow, peripheral blood, liver, kidney, and brain were examined. The results indicated that food supplementation with ripe or industrial acerola juice led to a partial reversal of the diet-induced DNA damage in the blood, kidney, liver and bone marrow. For unripe acerola juice food supplementation, beneficial effects were observed in blood, kidney and bone marrow. Food supplementation with vitamin C led to decreased DNA damage in kidney and liver, whereas rutin supplementation led to decreased DNA damage in all tissue samples observed. These results suggest that acerola juice helps to reduce oxidative stress and may decrease genotoxicity under obesogenic conditions.
Keywords: Cafeteria diet; Comet assay; Malpighia emarginata; Micronucleus test; Rutin; Vitamin C.
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