The growing incidence of obesity is a worldwide public health problem leading to a risk factor for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which extends from steatosis to steatohepatitis and cirrhosis. We investigated whether the aqueous extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (Hs) reduces body weight gain and protects the liver by improving lipid metabolism in high fat diet-induced obese C57BL/6NHsd mice. We found that oral administration of the Hs extract reduced fat tissue accumulation, diminished body weight gain and normalized the glycemic index as well as reduced dyslipidemia compared to the obese mice group that did not receive Hs treatment. In addition, Hs treatment attenuated liver steatosis, down-regulated SREBP-1c and PPAR-γ, blocked the increase of IL-1, TNF-α mRNA and lipoperoxidation and increased catalase mRNA. Our results suggest that the anti-obesity, anti-lipidemic and hepatoprotective effects of the Hs extract are related to the regulation of PPAR-γ and SREBP-1c in the liver.
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