Ferulic Acid Alleviates Changes in a Rat Model of Metabolic Syndrome Induced by High-Carbohydrate, High-Fat Diet.
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Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic abnormalities characterized by obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension and dyslipidemia. Ferulic acid (FA) is the major phenolic compound found in rice oil and various fruits and vegetables. In this study, we examined the beneficial effects of FA in minimizing insulin resistance, vascular dysfunction and remodeling in a rat model of high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-induced metabolic changes, which is regarded as an analogue of metabolic syndrome (MS) in man. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a high carbohydrate, high fat (HCHF) diet and 15% fructose in drinking water for 16 weeks, where control rats were fed with standard chow diet and tap water. FA (30 or 60 mg/kg) was orally administered to the HCHF and control rats during the last six weeks of the study. We observed that FA significantly improved insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles, and reduced elevated blood pressure, compared to untreated controls (p < 0.05). Moreover, FA also improved vascular function and prevented vascular remodeling of mesenteric arteries. The effects of FA in HCHF-induced MS may be realized through suppression of oxidative stress by down-regulation of p47phox, increased nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability with up-regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and suppression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Our results suggest that supplementation of FA may have health benefits by minimizing the cardiovascular complications of MS and alleviating its symptoms.