Aged black garlic (ABG) is a functional food with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Recent studies also report its beneficial metabolic effects in a context of obesity or diabetes, although the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. The aim of this work was to analyze the effects of an ABG extract in the vascular and metabolic alterations induced by a high-fat/sucrose diet in rats. For this purpose, male Sprague–Dawley rats were fed either a standard chow (controls; n
= 12) or a high-fat/sucrose diet (HFD; n
= 24) for 16 weeks. From week 8 on, half of the HFD rats were treated with a commercial ABG extract concentrated in S-allyl cysteine and melanoidins (ABG10+®; 250 mg/kg daily by gavage; 5 mL/kg). ABG10+®-treated rats showed lower mean caloric intake, body weight, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c), insulin and leptin serum concentrations and higher high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) and adiponectin serum concentrations than non-treated rats. In the hypothalamus, ABG10+® treatment induced an increase in the gene expression of proopiomelanocortin (POMC
) and a decrease in leptin receptor (ObR
) mRNA levels. No significant changes were found in visceral adipose tissue except for an overexpression of β3-adrenergic receptor (β3-ADR
) in ABG-treated rats. In subcutaneous adipose tissue, ABG10+® treatment decreased adipose weight and downregulated the gene expression of PPAR-γ
. In brown adipose tissue, an overexpression of InsR
in ABG10+®-treated rats was found, whereas PPAR-γ mRNA levels were significantly decreased. Regarding vascular function, ABG10+® treatment attenuated the obesity-induced vasoconstriction in response to potassium chloride both in presence/absence of perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT). On the contrary, aorta segments from ABG-treated rats showed and improved relaxation in response to acetylcholine only when PVAT was present, with this fact possible being related to the decreased gene expression of proinflammatory cytokines in this tissue. In conclusion, ABG10+® administration partially improves the metabolic and vascular alterations induced by a high-fat/high-sucrose diet in rats through modifications in the gene expression of proteins and neuropeptides involved in inflammation, fat metabolism and food intake regulation. Further studies are required to assess the bioavailability of ABG between rats and humans.
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