Mistletoe compound could help fight obesity-related liver disease

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Mistletoe compound could help fight obesity-related liver disease

Related tags Fatty liver Obesity Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Mistletoe may be more than the cue for a Christmas kiss, after researchers found that a compound extracted from the festive plant could help battle obesity-related liver disease.

The mouse study, published in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, ​found that a compound produced by a particular variety of the plant could help fight obesity-related liver disease in mice.

The Korean research suggests that the symbolic plant might one day represent more than a kiss at Christmas time – and could also mean better liver health and potential anti-obesity effects.

Led by Jungkee Kwon and colleagues from Chonbuk National University, the researchers noted that Korean mistletoe produces a number of biologically active compounds – including familiar ones such as steroids and flavonoids. In addition, extracts from the plant have shown anti-obesity effects, they said. However, nobody had confirmed which specific compounds are involved until now.

“This study demonstrated that viscothionin isolated from Korean mistletoe decreases hepatic lipid accumulation,”​ wrote the team.

Indeed, when the team supplemented obese mice with the mistletoe compound, their body and liver weights dropped.

“The beneficial effect of viscothionin was shown to involve AMPK-mediated regulation of fatty acid metabolism and was confirmed in both in vitro and in vivo models of NAFLD,”​ they confirmed.

Kwon and colleagues suggested that viscothionin could be explored as a therapeutic agent for the management of obesity and potentially for the reversal of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Study details

The team used in vitro and in vivo modelling to assess whether viscothionin was responsible for the suggested anti-obesity effects of mistletoe.

Using mouse models, a connection was discovered between viscothionin and the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signalling pathway - which is involved in lipid metabolism.

“Viscothionin was shown to significantly attenuate lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells treated with oleic acid, which induces lipid accumulation,”​ wrote the team.

“Moreover, the phosphorylation of AMPK and acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase in HepG2 cells was increased by viscothionin treatment.”

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Volume 62, Issue 49, Pages 11876–11883, doi: 10.1021/jf503535s
“Viscothionin Isolated from Korean Mistletoe Improves Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease via the Activation of Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase”
Authors: Sokho Kim, et al

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Posted by Prashant,

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