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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Aug 1;315(2):E218-E228. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00009.2017. Epub 2018 Feb 20.

Pycnogenol protects against diet-induced hepatic steatosis in apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice.

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Department of Geriatric Endocrinology, The First Hospital of China Medical University , Shenyang , China.
Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, The Endocrine Institute and The Liaoning Provincial Key Laboratory of Endocrine Diseases, The First Hospital of China Medical University , Shenyang , China.
Department of Clinical Investigation, Department of Diabetes, Endocrine and Rheumatic Diseases Oita San-ai Medical Center, Ichi, Oita , Japan.
Department of Neurology, Shengjing Hospital, China Medical University , Shenyang , China.


PycnogenolR (PYC), a combination of active flavonoids derived from French maritime pine bark, is a natural antioxidant that has various pharmacological activities. Here, we investigated the beneficial effect of PYC on diet-induced hepatic steatosis. Apolipoprotein E (ApoE)-deficient male mice were administered PYC at oral doses of 30 or 100 mg·kg-1·day-1 for 2 wk in advance and were then fed a high-cholesterol and -fat diet (HCD) for 8 wk. Biochemical, immunohistochemical, and gene expression analyses were conducted to explore the effect of PYC on lipid metabolism in ApoE-deficient mice on a HCD. Short-term treatment with HCD in ApoE-deficient mice induced hepatic injuries, such as lipid metabolism disorder and hepatic histopathological changes. We found that PYC reduced body weight and the increase of serum lipids that had been caused by HCD. Supplementation of PYC significantly reduced lipid deposition in the liver, as shown by the lowered hepatic lipid content and histopathological lesions. We subsequently detected genes related to lipid metabolism and inflammatory cytokines. The study showed that PYC markedly suppressed the expression of genes related to hepatic lipogenesis, fatty acid uptake, and lipid storage while increasing the lipolytic gene, which thus reduced hepatic lipid content. Furthermore, PYC mainly reduced the expression of inflammatory cytokines and the infiltration of inflammatory cells, which were resistant to the development of hepatic steatosis. These results demonstrate that PYC protects against the occurrence and development of hepatic steatosis and may provide a new prophylactic approach for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).


NAFLD; Pycnogenol; hepatic steatosis


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