Chitosan and its derivatives can alleviate metabolic syndrome by different regulation mechanisms, phosphorylation of AMPK (AMP-activated kinase) and Akt (also known as protein kinase B), suppression of PPAR-γ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ) and SREBP-1c (sterol regulatory element–binding proteins), and translocation of GLUT4 (glucose transporter-4), and also the downregulation of fatty-acid-transport proteins, fatty-acid-binding proteins, fatty acid synthetase (FAS), acetyl-CoA carboxylase (acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase), and HMG-CoA reductase (hydroxy methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase). The improved microbial profiles in the gastrointestinal tract were positively correlated with the improved glucose and lipid profiles in hosts with metabolic syndrome. Hence, this review will summarize the current literature illustrating positive correlations between the alleviated conditions in metabolic syndrome hosts and the normalized gut microbiota in hosts with metabolic syndrome after treatment with chitosan and its derivatives, implying that the possibility of chitosan and its derivatives to serve as therapeutic application will be consolidated. Chitosan has been shown to modulate cardiometabolic symptoms (e.g., lipid and glycemic levels, blood pressure) as well as gut microbiota. However, the literature that summarizes the relationship between such metabolic modulation of chitosan and prebiotic-like effects is limited. This review will discuss the connection among their structures, biological properties, and prebiotic effects for the treatment of metabolic syndrome. Our hope is that future researchers will consider the prebiotic effects as significant contributors to the mitigation of metabolic syndrome.
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