Bitter melon (Momordica charantia L.) inhibits adipocyte hypertrophy and down regulates lipogenic gene expression in adipose tissue of diet-induced obese rats

Department of Health and Nutrition, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan, Taiwan.
British Journal Of Nutrition (Impact Factor: 3.45). 02/2008; 99(2):230-9. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114507793947
Source: PubMed


Bitter melon (Momordica charantia; BM) has been shown to ameliorate diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. To examine the effect of BM supplementation on cell size and lipid metabolism in adipose tissues, three groups of rats were respectively fed a high-fat diet supplemented without (HF group) or with 5 % lyophilised BM powder (HFB group), or with 0.01 % thiazolidinedione (TZD) (HFT group). A group of rats fed a low-fat diet was also included as a normal control. Hyperinsulinaemia and glucose intolerance were observed in the HF group but not in HFT and HFB groups. Although the number of large adipocytes (>180 microm) of both the HFB and HFT groups was significantly lower than that of the HF group, the adipose tissue mass, TAG content and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase activity of the HFB group were significantly lower than those of the HFT group, implying that BM might reduce lipogenesis in adipose tissue. Experiment 2 was then conducted to examine the expression of lipogenic genes in adipose tissues of rats fed low-fat, HF or HFB diets. The HFB group showed significantly lower mRNA levels of fatty acid synthase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1, lipoprotein lipase and adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein than the HF group (P < 0.05). These results indicate BM can reduce insulin resistance as effective as the anti-diabetic drug TZD. Furthermore, BM can suppress the visceral fat accumulation and inhibit adipocyte hypertrophy, which may be associated with markedly down regulated expressions of lipogenic genes in the adipose.

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    • "Adipocyte inhibition: Bitter melon can suppress the visceral fat accumulation and inhibit adipocyte hypertrophy which may be associated with markedly down regulated expressions of lipogenic genes in the adipose tissue of rats fed a high fat diet. Bitter melon appears to have multiple influences on glucose and lipid metabolism that strongly counteract the untoward effects of a high fat diet (Huang et al., 2008; Nerurkar et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Plant Momordica charantia Linn., known as bitter gourd, belongs to family Cucurbitaceae. It is cultivated throughout India, Malaya, China, Tropical Africa and America. Earlier claims showed that its bitter fruits have carminative, aphrodisiac and anthelmintic properties are used in syphilis, rheumatism, troubles of spleen and ophthalmia. It is also useful in piles, leprosy, jaundice and used as a vermifuge. Literature review reveals that the fruit of plant contains moisture (83.2%), proteins (2.9%), fat (1.0%), carbon (9.8%), fibers (1.7%), mineral matters (1.4%), calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, nicotinic acid, riboflavin, ascorbic acid (88 mg/100 g), copper and potassium. Charantin, β-sitosterol-glucoside, stigmast-5, 25-dien-3 β-O-glucoside, stigmast-7, 25-dien-3 β-ol and stigmast-7, 22, 25-trien-3 β-ol are isolated from the fruit. Many pharmacological properties of M. charantia have been reported, including antioxidant, adipogenesis-reducing, antilipolytic, hypoglycemic, antidiabetic, anticancer, antifertility, anthelmintic, antimicrobial, antiviral and hepatoprotective activity. The present review highlights the salient pharmacological uses of Momordica charantia.
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    • "Recently, many herbal medicines and their derivatives have drawn attention because of their beneficial effect on the treatment of obesity without causing significant side effects or low risk for addiction [8]. For instance, a number of animal studies showed that many herbal medicines such as ginseng [9], Rhus verniciflua Stokes [10], Juniperus chinensis [11], and Momordica charantia [12] are effective in reducing weight gain in high fat-induced obesity animal models. "
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