PloS one

Tang-Nai-Kang alleviates pre-diabetes and metabolic disorders and induces a gene expression switch toward fatty acid oxidation in SHR.Cg-Leprcp/NDmcr rats.

PMID 25874615


Increased energy intake and reduced physical activity can lead to obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Transcriptional modulation of metabolic networks has become a focus of current drug discovery research into the prevention and treatment of metabolic disorders associated with energy surplus and obesity. Tang-Nai-Kang (TNK), a mixture of five herbal plant extracts, has been shown to improve abnormal glucose metabolism in patients with pre-diabetes. Here, we report the metabolic phenotype of SHR.Cg-Leprcp/NDmcr (SHR/cp) rats treated with TNK. Pre-diabetic SHR/cp rats were randomly divided into control, TNK low-dose (1.67 g/kg) and TNK high-dose (3.24 g/kg) groups. After high-dose treatment for 2 weeks, the serum triglycerides and free fatty acids in SHR/cp rats were markedly reduced compared to controls. After 3 weeks of administration, the high dose of TNK significantly reduced the body weight and fat mass of SHR/cp rats without affecting food consumption. Serum fasting glucose and insulin levels in the TNK-treated groups decreased after 6 weeks of treatment. Furthermore, TNK-treated rats exhibited obvious improvements in glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. The improved glucose metabolism may be caused by the substantial reduction in serum lipids and body weight observed in SHR/cp rats starting at 3 weeks of TNK treatment. The mRNA expression of NAD+-dependent deacetylase sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) and genes related to fatty acid oxidation was markedly up-regulated in the muscle, liver and adipose tissue after TNK treatment. Furthermore, TNK promoted the deacetylation of two well-established SIRT1 targets, PPARγ coactivator 1α (PGC1α) and forkhead transcription factor 1 (FOXO1), and induced the phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) in different tissues. These observations suggested that TNK may be an alternative treatment for pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome by inducing a gene expression switch toward fat oxidation through the activation of SIRT1 and AMPK signaling.