Obesity is characterized by an increased production of inflammatory markers. High levels of circulating free fatty acids and chronic inflammation lead to increased oxidative stress, contributing to the development of insulin resistance (IR). Recent studies have focused on the potential use of flavonoids for obesity management due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This study was designed to investigate the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of helichrysum and grapefruit extracts in overweight insulin-resistant rats. Thirty-eight male Wistar rats were randomly distributed in two groups: control group (n=8) and high-fat sucrose (HFS) group (n=30). After 22 days of ad libitum water and food access, the rats fed HFS diet changed to standard diet and were reassigned into three groups (n=10 each group): nonsupplemented, helichrysum extract (2 g/kg bw), and grapefruit extract (1 g/kg bw) administered for 5 weeks. Rats supplemented with both extracts gained less body weight during the 5-week period of treatment, showed lower serum insulin levels and liver TBARS levels. Leptin/adiponectin ratio, as an indicator of IR, was lower in both extract-administered groups. These results were accompanied by a reduction in TNFα gene expression in epididymal adipose tissue and intestinal mucosa, and TLR2 expression in intestinal mucosa. Helichrysum and grapefruit extracts might be used as complement hypocaloric diets in weight loss treatment. Both extracts helped to reduce weight gain, hyperinsulinemia, and IR, improved inflammation markers, and decreased the HFS diet-induced oxidative stress in insulin-resistant rats.
Keywords: TLR2; TNFα; flavonoids; grapefruit; helichrysum; insulin resistance.