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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Aug;299(2):G507-16. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00173.2010. Epub 2010 May 27.

Rimonabant-mediated changes in intestinal lipid metabolism and improved renal vascular dysfunction in the JCR:LA-cp rat model of prediabetic metabolic syndrome.

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Alberta Institute for Human Nutrition, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Rimonabant (SR141716) is a specific antagonist of the cannabinoid-1 receptor. Activation of the receptor initiates multiple effects on central nervous system function, metabolism, and body weight. The hypothesis that rimonabant has protective effects against vascular disease associated with the metabolic syndrome was tested using JCR:LA-cp rats. JCR:LA-cp rats are obese if they are cp/cp, insulin resistant, and exhibit associated micro- and macrovascular disease with end-stage myocardial and renal disease. Treatment of obese rats with rimonabant (10, 12-24 wk of age) caused transient reduction in food intake for 2 wk, without reduction in body weight. However, by 4 wk, there was a modest, sustained reduction in weight gain. Glycemic control improved marginally compared with controls, but at the expense of increased insulin concentration. In contrast, rimonabant normalized fasting plasma triglyceride and reduced plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and acute phase protein haptoglobin in cp/cp rats. Furthermore, these changes were accompanied by reduced postprandial intestinal lymphatic secretion of apolipoprotein B48, cholesterol, and haptoglobin. While macrovascular dysfunction and ischemic myocardial lesion frequency were unaffected by rimonabant treatment, both microalbuminuria and glomerular sclerosis were substantially reduced. In summary, rimonabant has a modest effect on body weight in freely eating obese rats and markedly reduces plasma triglyceride levels and microvascular disease, in part due to changes in intestinal metabolism, including lymphatic secretion of apolipoprotein B48 and haptoglobin. We conclude that rimonabant improves renal disease and intestinal lipid oversecretion associated with an animal model of the metabolic syndrome that appears to be independent of hyperinsulinemia or macrovascular dysfunction.

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