Posted on Apr 27, 2011, 6 a.m.
Nobiletin, a newly identified antioxidant in tangerines, may prevent obesity and protect against type-2 diabetes.
Focusing on the pharmacological properties of naturally-occurring bioactive molecules, Murray Huff, from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry (Canada), and colleagues have identified a new antioxidant in the tangerine fruit. The team found that the compound, known as Nobiletin, not only prevents obesity, but also offers protection against type 2 diabetes, and even atherosclerosis, the underlying disease responsible for most heart attacks and strokes. In a model of metabolic syndrome developed by the researchers, mice were fed a "western" diet high in fats and simple sugars. One group became obese and showed all the signs associated with metabolic syndrome: elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood levels of insulin and glucose, and a fatty liver. These metabolic abnormalities greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The second group of mice, fed the exact same diet but with Nobiletin added, experienced no elevation in their levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin or glucose, and gained weight normally. Mice became much more sensitive to the effects of insulin. Nobiletin was shown to prevent the buildup of fat in the liver by stimulating the expression of genes involved in burning excess fat, and inhibiting the genes responsible for manufacturing fat.
Erin E. Mulvihill, Julia M. Assini, Justin K. Lee, Emma M. Allister, Brian G. Sutherland, Julie B. Koppes, Cynthia G. Sawyez, Jane Y. Edwards, Dawn E. Telford, Alexandre Charbonneau, Philippe St-Pierre, Andre Marette, Murray W. Huff. “Nobiletin Attenuates VLDL Overproduction, Dyslipidemia, and Atherosclerosis in Mice With Diet-Induced Insulin Resistance.” Diabetes, April 6, 2011.