Anti-obesity effects of galacto-oligosaccharides in obese rats

Eur J Pharmacol. 2022 Feb 15:917:174728. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.174728. Epub 2021 Dec 26.


Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are commonly used as prebiotic with a variety of known metabolic benefits; however, whether GOS plays a protective role in obesity remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that GOS prevented obesity in a rat model of obesity induced by a high-fat diet. Our results showed that GOS effectively slowed weight gain in diet-induced obese rats without affecting energy intake. GOS significantly suppressed the hypertrophy and hyperplasia of white adipose tissue and markedly reduced the ratio of the fat/body. Consistently, GOS significantly improved serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, indicating the weight loss activity of GOS. Interestingly, GOS also significantly increased the expression levels of browning proteins, including uncoupling protein 1, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator 1α, and PR domain 16, in both white and brown adipose tissue. Furthermore, we found that GOS markedly increased the expression levels of liver X receptor α, peroxisome proliferation-activated receptor-α, low-density lipoprotein receptor, and cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase proteins in the liver of obese rats. Taken together, we concluded that GOS inhibits obesity by accelerating the browning of white fat cells and the thermogenesis of brown fat cells and that GOS improves host lipid homeostasis by promoting cholesterol catabolism.

Keywords: Browning; Galacto-oligosaccharides; Lipid metabolism; Obesity; Thermogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown*