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PloS one

Phytol/Phytanic acid and insulin resistance: potential role of phytanic acid proven by docking simulation and modulation of biochemical alterations.


PMID 23300941

Abstract

Since activation of PPARγ is the main target for the antidiabetic effect of TZDs, especially when it heterodimerizes with RXR, we aimed to test the potential antidiabetic effect of phytol (250 mg/kg), the natural precursor of phytanic acid, a RXR ligand and/or pioglitazone (5 mg/kg) to diabetic insulin-resistant rats. Regarding the molecular docking simulation on PPARγ, phytanic acid, rather than phytol, showed a binding mode that mimics the crystal orientation of rosiglitazone and pioglitazone, forming H bonds with the same amino acids (S289, H 323, H 449 and Y 473), and the least energy level, which emphasizes their importance for PPARγ molecular recognition, activation, hence antidiabetic activity. In addition, docking on the RXRα/PPARγ heterodimer, revealed that phytanic acid has higher binding affinity and lesser energy score on RXRα, compared to the original ligand, retinoic acid. Phytanic acid binds by 3H bonds and shares retinoic acid in arginine (R 316). These results were further supported biochemically, where oral phytol and/or pioglitazone (5 mg/kg) improved significantly glucose homeostasis, lipid panel, raised serum adiponectin level and lowered TNF-α, reaching in most cases the effect of the 10 mg/kg pioglitazone. The study concluded that the insulin sensitizing/anti-diabetic effect of phytol is mediated by partly from activation of nuclear receptors and heterodimerization of RXR with PPARγ by phytanic acid.

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