Thursday, December 23, 2010

Anti-obesity & Anti-diabetic effect of Trehalose in Rats on a High Fat Diet

I know, I know, rats on a high fat diet are a topic on their own: "Are they a valid model for metabolic disease in man?" etc. - Be that as it may, the findings of scientists from the Biomedical Institute, Research Center, Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories in Okayama (Arai. 2010) suggest that, of all things, a sugar(!) molecule may help prevent the negative effects of a high fat diet on fat mass and insulin resistance, which are commonly observed in the rat-model of the typical western-world high-fat diet.

Other than rats on a glucose [Glc], a maltose [Mal], a high-fructose corn syrup, or a fructose [Fru] rich high-fat-diet [HFD], the rats which were fed the natural alpha-linked disaccharide trehalose did not exhibit the typical signs and symptoms subsumed under the keyword "metabolic syndrome":
After 7 weeks of HFD and saccharide intake, fasting serum insulin levels in the Tre/HFD group were significantly lower than in the Mal/HFD and Glc/HFD groups (P < .05). Furthermore, the Tre/HFD group showed a significantly suppressed elevation of homeostasis model assessment–insulin resistance compared with the Mal/HFD group (P < .05) and showed a trend toward lower homeostasis model assessment–insulin resistance than the Glc/HFD group. After 8 weeks of feeding, mesenteric adipocyte size in the Tre/HFD group showed significantly less [fat] hypertrophy than the Glc/HFD, Mal/HFD, high-fructose corn syrup/HFD, or Fru/HFD group. Analysis of gene expression in mesenteric adipocytes showed that no statistically significant difference in the expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein–1 (MCP-1) messenger RNA (mRNA) was observed between the Tre/HFD group and the distilled water/standard diet group, whereas a significant increase in the MCP-1 mRNA expression was observed in the Glc/HFD, Mal/HFD, Fru/HFD, and distilled water/HFD groups.
While these results certainly appear promising, I better add that the laboratory that did the study is financed by the Hayashibara company, the same company which recently developed a new technique to produce or rather to extract trehalose commercially. So treat these results with a grain of skepticism, if you understand what I mean ;-)