Study Title:

The metabolic and vascular protective effects of olive (Olea europaea L.) leaf extract in diet-induced obesity in mice are related to the amelioration of gut microbiota dysbiosis and to its immunomodulatory properties.

Study Abstract

Introduction: Many studies have showed the beneficial effects of the olive (Olea europaea) leaf extract (OLE) in experimental models of metabolic syndrome, which have been ascribed to the presence of phenolic compounds, like oleuropeoside. This study evaluated the effects of a chemically characterized OLE in high fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity in mice, describing the underlying mechanisms involved in the beneficial effects, with special attention to vascular dysfunction and gut microbiota composition.

Methods: C57BL/6J mice were distributed in different groups: control, control-treated, obese and obese-treated with OLE (1, 10 and 25 mg/kg/day). Control mice received a standard diet, whereas obese mice were fed HFD. The treatment was followed for 5 weeks, and animal body weight periodically assessed. At the end of the treatment, metabolic plasma analysis (including lipid profile) as well as glucose and insulin levels were performed. The HFD-induced inflammatory status was studied in liver and fat, by determining the RNA expression of different inflammatory mediators by qPCR; also, different markers of intestinal epithelial barrier function were determined in colonic tissue by qPCR. Additionally, flow cytometry of immune cells from adipose tissue, endothelial dysfunction in aortic rings as well as gut microbiota composition were evaluated. Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) to antibiotic-treated mice fed with HFD was performed.

Results: OLE administration reduced body weight gain, basal glycaemia and insulin resistance, and showed improvement in plasma lipid profile when compared with HFD-fed mice. The extract significantly ameliorated the HFD-induced altered expression of key adipogenic genes, like PPARs, adiponectin and leptin receptor, in adipose tissue. Furthermore, the extract reduced the RNA expression of Tnf-α, Il-1β, Il-6 in liver and adipose tissue, thus improving the tissue inflammatory status associated to obesity. The flow cytometry analysis in adipose tissue corroborated these observations. Additionally, the characterization of the colonic microbiota by sequencing showed that OLE administration was able to counteract the dysbiosis associated to obesity. The extract reversed the endothelial dysfunction observed in the aortic rings of obese mice. FMT from donors HFD-OLE to recipient mice fed an HFD prevented the development of obesity, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction.

Conclusion: OLE exerts beneficial effects in HFD-induced obesity in mice, which was associated to an improvement in plasma and tissue metabolic profile, inflammatory status, gut microbiota composition and vascular dysfunction.

Study Information

Pharmacol Res. 2019 Dec;150:104487. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2019.104487. Epub 2019 Oct 11. PMID: 31610229.

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