PloS one

Ursodeoxycholic acid ameliorates fructose-induced metabolic syndrome in rats.

PMID 25202970


The metabolic syndrome (MS) is characterized by insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hypertension. It is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes. Consumption of fructose is linked to increased prevalence of MS. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is a steroid bile acid with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory activities and has been shown to improve insulin resistance. The current study aims to investigate the effect of UDCA (150 mg/kg) on MS induced in rats by fructose administration (10%) in drinking water for 12 weeks. The effects of UDCA were compared to fenofibrate (100 mg/kg), an agonist of PPAR-α receptors. Treatment with UDCA or fenofibrate started from the 6th week after fructose administration once daily. Fructose administration resulted in significant increase in body weight, elevations of blood glucose, serum insulin, cholesterol, triglycerides, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), uric acid levels, insulin resistance index and blood pressure compared to control rats. Moreover, fructose increased oxidative stress in aortic tissues indicated by significant increases of malondialdehyde (MDA), expression of iNOS and reduction of reduced glutathione (GSH) content. These disturbances were associated with decreased eNOS expression, increased infiltration of leukocytes and loss of aortic vascular elasticity. Treatment with UDCA successfully ameliorated the deleterious effects of fructose. The protective effect of UDCA could be attributed to its ability to decrease uric acid level, improve insulin resistance and diminish oxidative stress in vascular tissues. These results might support possible clinical application of UDCA in MS patients especially those present with liver diseases, taking into account its tolerability and safety. However, further investigations on human subjects are needed before the clinical application of UDCA for this indication.