Preventive action of retinoids in metabolic syndrome/type 2 diabetic rats fed with citrus functional food enriched in β-cryptoxanthin
Citrus fruits are known for their beneficial health effects associated with the prevention of metabolic syndrome/type 2 diabetes that is mainly attributed to flavonoids. Few investigations have reported the potential anti-diabetic effects of retinoids from the bioconversion of β-cryptoxanthin (bcx), a citrus carotenoid. Therefore, the present study explored the anti-diabetic effect of a citrus functional food, obtained by membrane eco-technology of a citrus clementina juice, especially enriched in bcx but also in flavonoids and pectin. We assessed the in vivo effect of citrus bcx absorption and its bioconversion into retinoids in metabolic syndrome/type 2 diabetic fructose rats. Fructose-fed rats were used as a prediabetic control, and a prediabetic group was treated with the citrus concentrate for 8 weeks. The citrus-based food treatment improved glucose tolerance, dyslipidemia and blood pressure, in prediabetic rats. Although these effects were in part due to the synergy between enriched phytonutrients (bcx, hesperidin, pectin) of the citrus matrix, the role of bcx and its bioconversion into retinoids were highlighted. We showed that prediabetic rats absorbed less bcx and the bioconversion was less efficient. Bcx from citrus-based food was able to restore vitamin A status in prediabetic rats suggesting that the absorption/bioconversion of bcx may have a key role in improvement of metabolic syndrome/type 2 diabetes.