Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) is a complex disorder that predisposes an individual to Cardiovascular Diseases and type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Proteomics and bioinformatics have proven to be an effective tool to study complex diseases and mechanisms of action of nutrients. We previously showed that substitution of the majority of carbohydrate in a high fat diet by purple potatoes (PP) or purple carrots (PC) improved insulin sensitivity and hypertension in an animal model of MetS (obese Zucker rats) compared to a control sucrose-rich diet. In the current study, we used TMT 10plex mass tag combined with LC-MS/MS technique to study proteomic modulation in the liver (n
= 3 samples/diet) and adipose tissue (n
= 3 samples/diet) of high fat diet-fed rats with or without substituting sucrose for purple vegetables, followed by functional enrichment analysis, in an attempt to elucidate potential molecular mechanisms responsible for the phenotypic changes seen with purple vegetable feeding. Protein folding, lipid metabolism and cholesterol efflux were identified as the main modulated biological themes in adipose tissue, whereas lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism and oxidative stress were the main modulated themes in liver. We propose that enhanced protein folding, increased cholesterol efflux and higher free fatty acid (FFA) re-esterification are mechanisms by which PP and PC positively modulate MetS pathologies in adipose tissue, whereas, decreased de novo
lipogenesis, oxidative stress and FFA uptake, are responsible for the beneficial effects in liver. In conclusion, we provide molecular evidence for the reported metabolic health benefits of purple carrots and potatoes and validate that these vegetables are good choices to replace other simple carbohydrate sources for better metabolic health.
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