Rats’ urinary metabolomes reveal the potential roles of functional foods and exercise in obesity management
The complexity of the metabolic changes in obese individuals still presents a challenge for the understanding of obesity-related metabolic disruptions and for obesity management. In this study, a gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) based metabolomics approach targeting urine metabolism has been applied to assess the potential roles of functional foods and exercise for obesity management in rats. Male albino rats diagnosed as obese via histopathology and biochemical assays were administered functional foods in common use for obesity management including pomegranate, grapefruit, and red cabbage juice extracts in parallel with swimming exercise. Urine samples were collected from these rats, and likewise from healthy control animals, for metabolite analysis using (GC-MS) coupled to multivariate data analysis. The results revealed a significant elevation in oxalate and phosphate levels in obese rat urine concurrent with lower lactate levels as compared to the control group. Furthermore, and to pinpoint the bioactive agents in the administered functional foods, ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled to high resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) was employed for secondary metabolite profiling. The different phenolic classes found in the examined functional foods, viz. ellagitannins in pomegranate, flavanones in grapefruit and flavonols in red cabbage, are likely to mediate their anti-obesity effects. The results indicate that these functional foods and exercise were quite effective in reverting obesity-related metabolic disruptions back to normal status, as revealed by orthogonal partial least squares-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA).