Obesity is a pathological condition that has reached epidemic proportions; hence, it is necessary to find novel strategies aimed at fighting this disease. The present study was designed to evaluate the effect of a flavonoid-rich extract of orange (Citrus sinensis) juice (OJe) in diet-induced obese zebrafish.
Adult zebrafish were divided into four diet groups: (i) normally fed (NF); (ii) overfed (OF); (iii) NF supplemented with OJe (5 mL/L in fish water; NF + OJe); and (iv) OF supplemented with OJe (OF + OJe). Each week, body weight (BW) and body mass index (BMI) were measured, and, at the end of the fifth week, euthanized zebrafish were processed for both microscopic evaluations and qPCR analyses.
In OF zebrafish, OJe significantly decreased both BW and BMI values and lowered the visceral adipose tissue, while it had little effect in the NF group. Moreover, it significantly reduced adipocyte cell size in both NF and OF groups in both visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues, as well as their number in OF fish. Finally, OJe modulated some obesity-related genes, such as leptin A, ghrelin, orexin, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), and neuropeptide Y (NPY), in both gut and brain.
This study adds new insights into the anti-obesity properties of orange juice and its flavonoids, suggesting their role as weight management agents through a lipolytic action linked to a restoration of metabolism-regulating gene expression.