Puerarin prevents high-fat diet-induced obesity by enriching Akkermansia muciniphila in the gut microbiota of mice.
PLoS One. 2019 ;14(6):e0218490. Epub 2019 Jun 24. PMID: 31233515
Growing evidence indicates that the gut microbiota plays a significant role in the pathophysiological processes of obesity and its related metabolic symptoms in the host. Puerarin, an active ingredient in the root of Pueraria lobate has been suggested to have a potent anti-obesity effect. Herein, we tested whether this effect of puerarin is associated with changes in the gut microbiota. In addition to reducing body weight, inflammation, and insulin resistance, puerarin administration significantly altered the composition of the gut microbiota. Notably, puerarin treatment greatly increased the abundance of Akkermansia muciniphila, a mucin-degrading bacterium known to be beneficial for host metabolism and significantly downregulated in high-fat diet-fed mice. Further experiments revealed that puerarin increased intestinal expression levels of Muc2 and Reg3g and protected intestinal barrier function (normal permeability) by increasing the expression of ZO-1 and occludin in vivo and in vitro. These data suggest that puerarin's enriching effect on A. muciniphila is mediated, at least in part, by a host cellular response to protect the host from diet-induced metabolic disorders and other diseases.