A histomorphometric study on the hepatoprotective effects of a green rooibos extract in a diet-induced obese rat model.
Acta Histochem. 2019 Jul ;121(5):646-656. Epub 2019 May 29. PMID: 31153588
J I Layman
Obesity, type two diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance are associated with increased oxidative stress and inflammation. Unfermented green rooibos is an aspalathin rich variant of traditional fermented rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and has a high polyphenol content. The present study aimed to determine the histologically observable effects of a commercially produced, aspalathin-rich green rooibos extract, Afriplex GRT™ (GRE) in a diet-induced obese rat model. Male Wistar rats (N = 28) were randomly assigned to four study groups (n = 7): control (C), green rooibos (GRT), high-fat diet (HFD) and experimental (HFD-GRT) group. Body mass was determined prior to euthanasia and liver mass was determined afterdeath. The left lateral lobe of the liver was processed to wax and stained using haematoxylin and eosin (H&E), Masson's trichrome stain, Gordons and Sweet's reticulin impregnation and periodic acid-Schiff stain. Frozen liver tissue sections were used for Oil red O staining. Morphometric quantification of steatosis, semiquantitative pathology grading and scoring were performed and verified by a veterinary histopathologist. A significant increase in body and liver mass was observed in the HFD groups while co-treatment with green rooibos significantly reduced both. The volume and area of steatosis were significantly increased in the HFD groups while the area of steatosis significantly reduced with green rooibos co-treatment. The percentage, location and type of steatosis as well as presence of inflammation and hepatocellular injury were reduced in the HFD group co-treated with GRE. These findings suggest that a GRE has potential as an anti-steatotic, anti-inflammatory and weight reducing agent in vivo.