White Pitaya (Hylocereus undatus) Juice Attenuates Insulin Resistance and Hepatic Steatosis in Diet-Induced Obese Mice

PLoS One. 2016 Feb 25;11(2):e0149670. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149670. eCollection 2016.


Insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis are the most common complications of obesity. Pitaya is an important source of phytochemicals such as polyphenols, flavonoid and vitamin C which are related to its antioxidant activity. The present study was conducted to evaluate the influence of white pitaya juice (WPJ) on obesity-related metabolic disorders (e.g. insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis) in high-fat diet-fed mice. Forty-eight male C57BL/6J mice were assigned into four groups and fed low-fat diet with free access to water or WPJ, or fed high-fat diet with free access to water or WPJ for 14 weeks. Our results showed that administration of WPJ improved high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance, hepatic steatosis and adipose hypertrophy, but it exerted no influence on body weight gain in mice. Hepatic gene expression analysis indicated that WPJ supplement not only changed the expression profile of genes involved in lipid and cholesterol metabolism (Srebp1, HMGCoR, Cpt1b, HL, Insig1 and Insig2) but also significantly increased the expression levels of FGF21-related genes (Klb, FGFR2, Egr1 and cFos). In conclusion, WPJ protected from diet-induced hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance, which was associated with the improved FGF21 resistance and lipid metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cactaceae / chemistry*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Drinking / drug effects
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juices*
  • Hypertrophy / drug therapy
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Obese
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / blood
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use


  • Cytokines
  • Lipids
  • Plant Extracts

Grant support

This work was supported by National Key Technology R&D Program of China (Grant No.2012BAD33B08, http://program.most.gov.cn/, received by XDZ), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. Z14C200006, http://www.zjnsf.gov.cn/, received by XDZ) and the Foundation of Fuli Institute of Food Science, Zhejiang University (Grant No. KY201301, http://fifs.zju.edu.cn/content/detail.php?sid=3&cid=642, received by XDZ). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.