Treatment with camu camu ( Myrciaria dubia) prevents obesity by altering the gut microbiota and increasing energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice

Gut. 2019 Mar;68(3):453-464. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2017-315565. Epub 2018 Jul 31.


Objective: The consumption of fruits is strongly associated with better health and higher bacterial diversity in the gut microbiota (GM). Camu camu (Myrciaria dubia) is an Amazonian fruit with a unique phytochemical profile, strong antioxidant potential and purported anti-inflammatory potential.

Design: By using metabolic tests coupled with 16S rRNA gene-based taxonomic profiling and faecal microbial transplantation (FMT), we have assessed the effect of a crude extract of camu camu (CC) on obesity and associated immunometabolic disorders in high fat/high sucrose (HFHS)-fed mice.

Results: Treatment of HFHS-fed mice with CC prevented weight gain, lowered fat accumulation and blunted metabolic inflammation and endotoxaemia. CC-treated mice displayed improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and were also fully protected against hepatic steatosis. These effects were linked to increased energy expenditure and upregulation of uncoupling protein 1 mRNA expression in the brown adipose tissue (BAT) of CC-treated mice, which strongly correlated with the mRNA expression of the membrane bile acid (BA) receptor TGR5. Moreover, CC-treated mice showed altered plasma BA pool size and composition and drastic changes in the GM (eg, bloom of Akkermansia muciniphila and a strong reduction of Lactobacillus). Germ-free (GF) mice reconstituted with the GM of CC-treated mice gained less weight and displayed higher energy expenditure than GF-mice colonised with the FM of HFHS controls.

Conclusion: Our results show that CC prevents visceral and liver fat deposition through BAT activation and increased energy expenditure, a mechanism that is dependent on the GM and linked to major changes in the BA pool size and composition.

Keywords: akkermansia muciniphila; brown adipose tissue; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Endotoxemia / prevention & control
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Fatty Liver / microbiology
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Fatty Liver / prevention & control
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Obese
  • Obesity / microbiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Panniculitis / prevention & control
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use


  • Blood Glucose
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ascorbic Acid