Hyperlipidemia is associated with metabolic disorders, but the detailed mechanisms and related interventions remain largely unclear. As a functional food in Asian diets, Herba houttuyniae
has been reported to have beneficial effects on health. The present research was to investigate the protective effects of Herba houttuyniae
aqueous extract (HAE) on hyperlipidemia-induced liver and heart impairments and its potential mechanisms. Male C57BL/6J mice were administered with 200 or 400 mg/kg/day HAE for 9 days, followed by intraperitoneal injection with 0.5 g/kg poloxamer 407 to induce acute hyperlipidemia. HAE treatment significantly attenuated excessive serum lipids and tissue damage markers, prevented hepatic lipid deposition, improved cardiac remodeling, and ameliorated hepatic and cardiac oxidative stress induced by hyperlipidemia. More importantly, NF-E2 related factor (Nrf2)-mediated antioxidant and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 alpha (PGC-1α)-mediated mitochondrial biogenesis pathways as well as mitochondrial complex activities were downregulated in the hyperlipidemic mouse livers and hearts, which may be attributable to the loss of adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity: all of these changes were reversed by HAE supplementation. Our findings link the AMPK/PGC-1α/Nrf2 cascade to hyperlipidemia-induced liver and heart impairments and demonstrate the protective effect of HAE as an AMPK activator in the prevention of hyperlipidemia-related diseases.
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