Background: Experimental and epidemiological studies show that bergamot polyphenolic fraction (BPF) ameliorates the serum lipemic profile, normalizes blood pressure and improves non alcoholic fatty liver disease in patients suffering from metabolic syndrome. Despite this evidence, the molecular mechanisms responsible for these beneficial effects remain unclear. The aim of our study is to clarify the effects of BPF on the lipoprotein assembly and to identify oxidative stress biomarkers correlating hyperlipidaemia and BPF-induced metabolic changes.
Methods: Male Wistar rats (180-200 g) were randomly assigned to receive a standard diet, a hypercholesterolemic diet or a hypercholesterolemic diet+BPF (20 mg/Kg/rat daily, gavage), respectively, for 90 days. Total cholesterol (tChol), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides (TG) and fasting plasma glucose were evaluated at the baseline as well as at the end of the treatment. To assess the effect of BPF on the Lipid Transfer Protein System, detection of ACAT, LCAT, CETP, PON1, Apo A1 and Apo B have also been carried out. Finally, the lipid peroxidation biomarker (TBARS) and oxyLDL were also measured.
Results: BPF prevented tChol, LDL-C, TG and fasting plasma glucose enhancement and improved HDL-C. Treatment of hyperlipæmic rats with BPF significantly restored altered the serum concentration of lipemic biomarkers and the activity of ACAT, LCAT, CETP and PON1, an effect accompanied by the concomitant normalization of Apo A1 and APO B levels. In addition, TBARS levels were reduced significantly by the treatment with BPF.
Conclusions: BPF prevents diet-induced alteration of the lipid profile in rats, counteracting oxidative stress and improving the dysregulation of the Lipid Transfer Protein System. These data add new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the beneficial role of BPF in the therapy of hyperlipidaemia, thus suggesting a novel approach in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: Bergamot polyphenolic fraction; Hyperlipidaemia; Lipid transfer protein system; Oxidative stress.