Animal and Cellular Studies Demonstrate Some of the Beneficial Impacts of Herring Milt Hydrolysates on Obesity-Induced Glucose Intolerance and Inflammation

Nutrients. 2020 Oct 22;12(11):3235. doi: 10.3390/nu12113235.


The search for bioactive compounds from enzymatic hydrolysates has increased in the last few decades. Fish by-products have been shown to be rich in these valuable molecules; for instance, herring milt is a complex matrix composed of lipids, nucleotides, minerals, and proteins. However, limited information is available on the potential health benefits of this by-product. In this context, three industrial products containing herring milt hydrolysate (HMH) were tested in both animal and cellular models to measure their effects on obesity-related metabolic disorders. Male C57Bl/6J mice were fed either a control chow diet or a high-fat high-sucrose (HFHS) diet for 8 weeks and received either the vehicle (water) or one of the three HMH products (HMH1, HMH2, and HMH3) at a dose of 208.8 mg/kg (representing 1 g/day for a human) by daily oral gavage. The impact of HMH treatments on insulin and glucose tolerance, lipid homeostasis, liver gene expression, and the gut microbiota profile was studied. In parallel, the effects of HMH on glucose uptake and inflammation were studied in L6 myocytes and J774 macrophages, respectively. In vivo, daily treatment with HMH2 and HMH3 improved early time point glycemia during the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) induced by the HFHS diet, without changes in weight gain and insulin secretion. Interestingly, we also observed that HMH2 consumption partially prevented a lower abundance of Lactobacillus species in the gut microbiota of HFHS diet-fed animals. In addition to this, modulations of gene expression in the liver, such as the upregulation of sucrose nonfermenting AMPK-related kinase (SNARK), were reported for the first time in mice treated with HMH products. While HMH2 and HMH3 inhibited inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) induction in J774 macrophages, glucose uptake was not modified in L6 muscle cells. These results indicate that milt herring hydrolysates reduce some metabolic and inflammatory alterations in cellular and animal models, suggesting a possible novel marine ingredient to help fight against obesity-related immunometabolic disorders.

Keywords: Lactobacillus; bioactive peptides; glucose tolerance; herring milt hydrolysate; microbiota; obesity; polyunsaturated fatty acids.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Diet, Carbohydrate Loading
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Fish Products*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Intolerance / diet therapy*
  • Glucose Intolerance / etiology
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Inflammation*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle Cells / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism
  • Obesity / complications*
  • RNA-Seq


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Insulin
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nos2 protein, mouse
  • Glucose