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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 342973, 12 pages
Research Article

Citrus Flavanones Affect Hepatic Fatty Acid Oxidation in Rats by Acting as Prooxidant Agents

1Department of Biochemistry, Laboratory of Liver Metabolism, University of Maringá, 87020900 Maringá, PR, Brazil
2Department of Physiological Sciences, University of Maringá, 87020900 Maringá, PR, Brazil

Received 22 August 2013; Revised 17 September 2013; Accepted 18 September 2013

Academic Editor: Isabel C. F. R. Ferreira

Copyright © 2013 Rodrigo Polimeni Constantin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Citrus flavonoids have a wide range of biological activities and positive health effects on mammalian cells because of their antioxidant properties. However, they also act as prooxidants and thus may interfere with metabolic pathways. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the effects of three citrus flavanones, hesperidin, hesperetin, and naringenin, on several parameters linked to fatty acid oxidation in mitochondria, peroxisomes, and perfused livers of rats. When exogenous octanoate was used as substrate, hesperetin and naringenin reduced the mitochondrial NADH/NAD+ ratio and stimulated the citric acid cycle without significant changes on oxygen uptake or ketogenesis. When fatty acid oxidation from endogenous sources was evaluated, hesperetin and naringenin strongly reduced the mitochondrial NADH/NAD+ ratio. They also inhibited both oxygen uptake and ketogenesis and stimulated the citric acid cycle. Hesperidin, on the other hand, had little to no effect on these parameters. These results confirm the hypothesis that citrus flavanones are able to induce a more oxidised state in liver cells, altering parameters related to hepatic fatty acid oxidation. The prooxidant effect is most likely a consequence of the ability of these substances to oxidise NADH upon production of phenoxyl radicals in the presence of peroxidases and hydrogen peroxide.