Mulberry and dandelion water extracts prevent alcohol-induced steatosis with alleviating gut microbiome dysbiosis

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2018 Jul;243(11):882-894. doi: 10.1177/1535370218789068.


Chronic alcohol intake causes hepatic steatosis and changes the body composition and glucose metabolism. We examined whether water extracts of mulberry (WMB) and white flower dandelion ( Taraxacum coreanum Nakai, WTC) can prevent and/or delay the symptoms of chronic ethanol-induced hepatic steatosis in male Sprague Dawley rats, and explored the mechanisms. Ethanol degradation was examined by orally administering 3 g ethanol/kg bw after giving them 0.3 g/kg bw WMB or WTC. All rats were continuously provided about 7 g ethanol/kg bw/day for four weeks and were given either of 0.1% dextrin (control), WMB, WTC, or water extracts of Hovenia dulcis Thunb fruit (positive-control) in high-fat diets. Area under the curve of serum ethanol levels was lowered in descending order of control, WTC and positive-control, and WMB in acute ethanol challenge. WMB and WTC prevented alcohol intake-related decrease in bone mineral density and lean body mass compared to the control. After glucose challenge, serum glucose levels increased more in the control group than other groups in the first part and the rate of decrease after 40 min was similar among all groups. These changes were associated with decreasing serum insulin levels. WMB had the greatest efficacy for decreasing triglyceride and increasing glycogen deposits. WMB and WTC prevented the disruption of the hepatic cells and nuclei while reducing malondialdehyde contents in rats fed alcohol, but the prevention was not as much as the normal-control. The ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes in the gut was much higher in the control than the normal-control, but WTC and WMB decreased the ratio compared to the control. WMB and WTC separated the gut microbiota community from the control. In conclusion, WMB and WTC protected against alcoholic liver steatosis by accelerating ethanol degradation and also improved body composition and glucose metabolism while alleviating the dysbiosis of gut microbiome by chronic alcohol intake. Impact statement Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with serious pathologies and is common in much of the world. Pathologies include liver damage, glucose intolerance, and loss of lean body mass and bone mass. These pathologies are mediated by changes in metabolism as well as toxic metabolic byproducts, and possibly by gut dysbiosis. In this study, we demonstrate that aqueous extracts of mulberry and dandelion protected rats against ethanol-induced losses in lean body and bone masses, improved glucose tolerance and partially normalized gut bacterial populations, with mulberry extract being generally more effective. This research suggests that mulberry and dandelion extracts may have the potential to improve some of the pathologies associated with excess alcohol consumption, and that further clinical research is warranted.

Keywords: Alcohol; dandelion; glucose metabolism; gut microbiome; mulberry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Animals
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dysbiosis / prevention & control*
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Fatty Liver / prevention & control*
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / isolation & purification
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Insulin / blood
  • Morus / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Taraxacum / chemistry*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Blood Glucose
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Insulin
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ethanol