Effects of a novel polyphenol-rich plant extract on body composition, inflammation, insulin sensitivity, and glucose homeostasis in obese mice

Int J Obes (Lond). 2021 Jun 2. doi: 10.1038/s41366-021-00870-x. Online ahead of print.


Background/objectives: The worldwide prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (T2D) is reaching epidemic proportions that urge the development of new management strategies. Totum-63 is a novel, plant-based polyphenol-rich active principle that has been shown to reduce body weight, fasting glycemia, glucose intolerance, and fatty liver index in obese subjects with prediabetes. Here, we investigated the effects and underlying mechanism(s) of Totum-63 on metabolic homeostasis in insulin-resistant obese mice.

Methods: Male C57Bl6/J mice were fed a high-fat diet for 12 weeks followed by supplementation with Totum-63 for 4 weeks. The effects on whole-body energy and metabolic homeostasis, as well as on tissue-specific inflammation and insulin sensitivity were assessed using a variety of immunometabolic phenotyping tools.

Results: Totum-63 decreased body weight and fat mass in obese mice, without affecting lean mass, food intake and locomotor activity, and increased fecal energy excretion and whole-body fatty acid oxidation. Totum-63 reduced fasting plasma glucose, insulin and leptin levels, and improved whole-body insulin sensitivity and peripheral glucose uptake. The expression of insulin receptor β and the insulin-induced phosphorylation of Akt/PKB were increased in liver, skeletal muscle, white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT). Hepatic steatosis was also decreased by Totum-63 and associated with a lower expression of genes involved in fatty acid uptake, de novo lipogenesis, inflammation, and fibrosis. Furthermore, a significant reduction in pro-inflammatory macrophages was also observed in epidydimal WAT. Finally, a potent decrease in BAT mass associated with enhanced tissue expression of thermogenic genes was found, suggesting BAT activation by Totum-63.

Conclusions: Our results show that Totum-63 reduces inflammation and improves insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis in obese mice through pleiotropic effects on various metabolic organs. Altogether, plant-derived Totum-63 might constitute a promising novel nutritional supplement for alleviating metabolic dysfunctions in obese people with or without T2D.