Ferulic acid lowers body weight and visceral fat accumulation via modulation of enzymatic, hormonal and inflammatory changes in a mouse model of high-fat diet-induced obesity

Previous studies have reported on the glucose and lipid-lowering effects of ferulic acid (FA) but its anti-obesity potential has not yet been firmly established. This study investigated the possible anti-obesitogenic effects of FA in mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 15 weeks. To assess the antiobesity potential of FA, 32 male Swiss mice, weighing 20–25 g (n=6–8 per group) were fed a normal diet (ND) or HFD, treated orally or not with either FA (10 mg/kg) or sibutramine (10 mg/kg) for 15 weeks and at the end of this period, the body weights of animals, visceral fat accumulation, plasma levels of glucose and insulin hormone, amylase and lipase activities, the satiety hormones ghrelin and leptin, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCH-1) were analyzed. Results revealed that FA could effectively suppress the HFD-associated increase in visceral fat accumulation, adipocyte size and body weight gain, similar to sibutramine, the positive control. FA also significantly (P<0.05) decreased the HFD-induced elevations in serum lipid profiles, amylase and lipase activities, and the levels of blood glucose and insulin hormone. The markedly elevated leptin and decreased ghrelin levels seen in HFD-fed control mice were significantly (P<0.05) reversed by FA treatment, almost reaching the values seen in ND-fed mice. Furthermore, FA demonstrated significant (P<0.05) inhibition of serum levels of inflammatory mediators TNF-α, and MCH-1. These results suggest that FA could be beneficial in lowering the risk of HFD-induced obesity via modulation of enzymatic, hormonal and inflammatory responses.