Vitamin A derivative retinoic acid could address obesity and type 2 diabetes and prevent their cardiovascular complications, according to a study by the University of Montreal and CHUM Research Centre.
The research, published in the journal of applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, studied the effect of daily retinoic acid treatment (two micrograms a day) on eight mice compared to a control group.
The mice received the retinoic acid dose in corn oil through stomach intubation for 16 days.
The researchers found that mice in the treatment group lost weight thus reducing visceral obesity, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Commenting on the findings, study author Daniel-Constantin Manolescu, said: “In obese and insulin resistant mice, retinoic acid reduces the risk of cardiac apoptosis [programmed cell death], stimulates the expression of cardio-protective genes reduced by the disease, and protects against the accumulation of collagen in the cardiac muscle, thus avoiding the occurrence of fibrosis and possible associated future complications.”
Earlier studies by the research team found that blood glucose, body weight and adipocyte size (fat cells) significantly decreased in treated mice, while physical activity an dietary intake were similar compared to the control group. “This suggests an increase in basal energy expenditure,” said Manolescu.
The researchers added that the findings could lead to anti-diabetic and anti-obesity medicines with retinoids.
Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
"Natriuretic peptide and other cardio-protective genes are stimulated by Vitamin A (retinoid acid), preventing apoptosis and fibrosis in obese-diabetic mice heart"
Authors: Manolescu et al.