Excess fat accumulation in the liver increases the risk of developing progressive liver injuries ranging from a fatty liver to hepatocarcinoma. In a previous study, we demonstrated that the polyphenol components of Sechium edule shoots attenuated hepatic lipid accumulation in vitro. Therefore, we investigated the effects and mechanisms of the extract of S. edule shoots (SWE) to modulate fat accumulation in a high-fat-diet (HFD)-induced animal model. In this study, we found that the SWE can reduce the body weight, adipose tissue fat, and regulate hepatic lipid contents (e.g., triglyceride and cholesterol). Additionally, treatment of caffeic acid (CA) and hesperetin (HPT), the main ingredients of SWE, also inhibited oleic acid (OA)-induced lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells. SWE enhanced the activation of AMP-activating protein kinase (AMPK) and decreased numerous lipogenic-related enzymes, such as sterol regulator element-binding proteins (SREBPs), e.g., SREBP-1 and SREBP-2, and HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCoR) proteins, which are critical regulators of hepatic lipid metabolism. Taken together, the results demonstrated that SWE can prevent a fatty liver and attenuate adipose tissue fat by inhibiting lipogenic enzymes and stimulating lipolysis via upregulating AMPK. It was also demonstrated that the main activation components of SWE are both CA and HPT.
Keywords: AMPK; adipogenesis; caffeic acid; fatty liver; hesperetin; lipogenesis; obesity.