Navigation Links
Birch bark ingredient comes with many metabolic benefits
Date:1/4/2011

This release is also available in Chinese on EurekAlert! Chinese.

An ingredient found in abundance in birch bark appears to have an array of metabolic benefits, according to new studies in animals that are reported in the January issue of Cell Metabolism, a Cell Press publication. In mice, the compound known as betulin lowered cholesterol, helped prevent diet-induced obesity, and improved insulin sensitivity. Betulin-treated mice were also more resistant to developing atherosclerotic plaques in their arteries.

Betulin works by targeting so-called sterol regulatory element-binding proteins (SREBPs), transcription factors that are known to be important for activating the expression of genes involved in the biosynthesis of cholesterol, fatty acids, and triglycerides.

"Our study shows that the SREBP pathway is a good target for several metabolic diseases," said Bao-Liang Song of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences. "We also identify a leading compound."

In the new study, Song and his colleagues went in search of a compound that might act directly on SREBP. That chemical screen turned up betulin as a top contender. They then confirmed in cells that betulin lowered the activity of genes that are normally switched "on" by SREBP. It also lowered lipid levels within cells.

Song's team then treated mice on a high-fat, Western diet with betulin, the cholesterol-lowering statin known as lovastatin, or a placebo (saline) for 6 weeks. Compared to placebo, both drugs led the mice to gain less weight on the high-fat diet, though by different means. Betulin caused the animals to burn more calories while lovastatin appeared to reduce the amount of lipid taken up from the diet.

Further investigations showed that betulin also lowered lipid levels in blood, liver, and fat tissue. Betulin also made the animals more sensitive to insulin. Mice with a mutation that makes them prone to develop atherosclerosis showed fewer plaques when treated with either lovastatin or betulin.

"Betulin has several major metabolic effects," Song said.

The researchers say that their findings suggest that betulin may have similar or even better effects than lovastatin, a member of the most widely prescribed drug class for treating high cholesterol. For instance, in their studies betulin decreased lipids in liver and fat to a greater extent than lovastatin did. Betulin also improved insulin resistance through its effects on fatty acid and triglyceride synthesis.

Song notes that betulin is a readily available compound and is already in use as a precursor in the manufacture of other drugs.

Although betulin appears to have very low toxicity, he says future studies will need to further investigate the safety of betulin and its metabolic effects. Researchers will also explore the possibility that a derivative of betulin might have even greater potency. "That may be the path forward to move this clinically," Song said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Elisabeth Lyons
elyons@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. URI researchers help score knockout punch on birch tree pest
2. Spotlight on cosmetic ingredients conference
3. Princeton-led team finds secret ingredient for the health of tropical rainforests
4. Common fragrance ingredients in shampoos and conditioners are frequent causes of eczema
5. IVCC and Syngenta start project for novel insecticidal active ingredient for malaria control
6. Proteomics: Finding the key ingredients of disease
7. Quality of medicines and food ingredients the focus at USP 2009 Annual Scientific Meeting
8. Creating new healthy ingredients by innovative milling techniques and processes for cereal grains
9. U of Minn. study finds rising levels of dioxins from common soap ingredient in Mississippi River
10. Honey as an antibiotic: Scientists identify a secret ingredient in honey that kills bacteria
11. Ingredient in soap points toward new drugs for infection that affects 2 billion
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market for stem ... 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The rise ... growth of the stem cell market. Download ... The global stem cell market is segmented on the ... cell market of the product is segmented into adult ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... NEW YORK , March 30, 2017 ... by type (physiological and behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, ... recognition, voice recognition, and others), by end use industry ... travel and immigration, financial and banking, and others), and ... Europe , Asia Pacific ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle ... around 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million ... estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... and Webster Bank, today announced first round funding to three startups through the ... early-stage financial support to new business startups affiliated with UConn. , The UConn ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 , ... The AMA ... 11 high school graduates from across the nation. The scholarships are created through funds ... member dues. , Scholarship criteria are set by the AMA Scholarship Committee, which is ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... ... Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI), a business incubator ... a $77,518 grant from the Rural Maryland Council (RMC) to support refurbishment of ... incubator. A non-profit corporation, FITCI is a public-private partnership of the governments of ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... ... their strategic partnership to offer a full spectrum of digital security goods and ... of biometric products and the ground-breaking proactive cybersecurity services and products through Assured ...
Breaking Biology Technology: