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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 106157, 13 pages
Research Article

The Resin from Protium heptaphyllum Prevents High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity in Mice: Scientific Evidence and Potential Mechanisms

1Post-Graduate Programme in Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, 60430-140 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
2Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, 60430-270 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
3Faculty of Pharmacy, Odontology and Nurse, Federal University of Ceará, 60430-160 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
4INCT-IBISAB-Brazilian Semi-Arid Institute of Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, 60430-270 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
5Haroldo Juaçaba Hospital, Cancer Institute of Ceará, 60430-230 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
6Department of Organic Chemistry, Federal University of Piauí, 64049-550 Teresina, PI, Brazil
7Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, State University of Ceará, 60740-000 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
8Department of Morphology, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Ceará, 60430-170 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil

Received 24 July 2014; Revised 11 January 2015; Accepted 12 January 2015

Academic Editor: Zunjian Zhang

Copyright © 2015 Karine Maria Martins Bezerra Carvalho 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.


Herbal compounds rich in triterpenes are well known to regulate glucose and lipid metabolism and to have beneficial effects on metabolic disorders. The present study investigated the antiobesity properties of resin from Protium heptaphyllum (RPH) and the possible mechanisms in mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for 15 weeks. Mice treated with RPH showed decreases in body weight, net energy intake, abdominal fat accumulation, plasma glucose, amylase, lipase, triglycerides, and total cholesterol relative to their respective controls, which were RPH unfed. Additionally, RPH treatment, while significantly elevating the plasma level of ghrelin hormone, decreased the levels of insulin, leptin, and resistin. Besides, HFD-induced increases in plasma levels of proinflammatory mediators TNF-α, IL-6, and MCP-1 were significantly lowered by RPH. Furthermore, in vitro studies revealed that RPH could significantly inhibit the lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes (measured by Oil-Red O staining) at concentrations up to 50 μg/mL. These findings suggest that the antiobese potential of RPH is largely due to its modulatory effects on various hormonal and enzymatic secretions related to fat and carbohydrate metabolism and to the regulation of obesity-associated inflammation.