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Food Funct. 2019 Jun 14. doi: 10.1039/c9fo01147a. [Epub ahead of print]

Synergistic effect of sea cucumber saponins and EPA-enriched phospholipids on insulin resistance in high-fat diet-induced obese mice.

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College of Food Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, No. 5 Yushan Road, Qingdao 266003, P. R. China.
College of Food Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, No. 5 Yushan Road, Qingdao 266003, P. R. China. and Laboratory for Marine Drugs and Bioproducts of Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology, Qingdao 266237, P. R. China.


Sea cucumber saponins (SCS) exhibit a significant effect on ameliorating glucose and lipid disorders by inhibiting fatty acid biosynthesis; however, high cytotoxicity and hemolytic activity limit their application. Eicosapentaenoic acid-enriched phospholipids (EPA-PL) significantly ameliorate insulin resistance and elevate the level of hepatic lipolysis, which may have a synergistic effect with SCS in alleviating obesity-related insulin resistance via multiple mechanisms. In the present study, high-fat diet-induced male C57BL/6J mice with obesity-related insulin resistance were used to evaluate the synergistic effect of SCS and EPA-PL on alleviating the insulin resistance. Results show that the combination of SCS and EPA-PL at a half dose exhibited a significant improvement on glucose intolerance and systematic insulin sensitivity than SCS or EPA-PL alone. Moreover, the half dose-combination remarkably inhibited the macrophage infiltration (F4/80) to white adipose tissue (WAT) and significantly down-regulated the level of MCP1, TNF-α and IL-6 compared with SCS and EPA-PL alone. Consequently, the combined administration not only decreased hepatic gluconeogenesis and increased hepatic glycogen synthesis (P < 0.05), but also stimulated the glucose uptake in WAT and muscle (P < 0.05). Nevertheless, neither SCS or EPA-PL alone exhibited any effect on the glucose uptake. The combination of SCS and EPA-PL contributed to a synergistic effect on alleviating the obesity-related insulin resistance due to the amelioration of an inflammation-centric peripheral insulin response.


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