Background: The high morbidity of metabolic dysfunction diseases has heightened interest in seeking natural and safe compounds to maintain optimal health. γ-Oryzanol (OZ), the ferulic acid (FA) ester with phytosterols, mainly present in rice bran has been shown to improve markers of metabolic syndrome. This study investigates the effects of FA and OZ on alleviating high-fat and high-fructose diet (HFFD)-induced metabolic syndrome parameters.
Methods: Male SD rats were fed with a regular rodent diet, HFFD, or HFFD supplemented with 0.05% FA or 0.16% OZ (equimolar concentrations) for 13 weeks. Food intake, organ indices, serum lipid profiles, glucose metabolism, insulin resistance (IR) index and cytokine levels were analyzed. The mechanisms were further investigated in oleic acid-stimulated HepG2 cells by analyzing triglyceride (TG) content and lipogenesis-related gene expressions.
Results: In the in vivo study, FA and OZ exhibited similar effects in alleviating HFFD-induced obesity, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, and IR. However, only OZ treatment significantly decreased liver index and hepatic TG content, lowered serum levels of C-reactive protein and IL-6, and increased serum concentration of adiponectin. In the in vitro assay, only OZ administration significantly inhibited intracellular TG accumulation and down-regulated expression of stearoyl coenzyme-A desaturase-1, which might facilitate OZ to enhance its hepatoprotective effect.
Conclusion: OZ is more effective than FA in inhibiting hepatic fat accumulation and inflammation. Thus, FA and OZ could be used as dietary supplements to alleviate the deleterious effects of HFFD.