The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide, with high fat diet (HFD) as one of the main contributing factors. Obesity increases the predisposition to other diseases such as diabetes through various metabolic pathways. Limited availability of antiobesity drugs and the popularity of complementary medicine have encouraged research in finding phytochemical strategies to this multifaceted disease. HFD induced obese Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with an extract of Morinda citrifolia L. leaves (MLE 60). After 9 weeks of treatment, positive effects were observed on adiposity, fecal fat content, plasma lipids, and insulin and leptin levels. The inducement of obesity and treatment with MLE 60 on metabolic alterations were then further elucidated using a (1)H NMR based metabolomics approach. Discriminating metabolites involved were products of various metabolic pathways, including glucose metabolism and TCA cycle (lactate, 2-oxoglutarate, citrate, succinate, pyruvate, and acetate), amino acid metabolism (alanine, 2-hydroxybutyrate), choline metabolism (betaine), creatinine metabolism (creatinine), and gut microbiome metabolism (hippurate, phenylacetylglycine, dimethylamine, and trigonelline). Treatment with MLE 60 resulted in significant improvement in the metabolic perturbations caused obesity as demonstrated by the proximity of the treated group to the normal group in the OPLS-DA score plot and the change in trajectory movement of the diseased group towards the healthy group upon treatment.
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