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Lemon balm extract causes potent antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects in insulin-resistant obese mice



Over the last decades polyetiological metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes have emerged as a global epidemic. Efficient strategies for prevention and treatment include dietary intervention and the development of validated nutraceuticals. Safe extracts of edible plants provide a resource of structurally diverse molecules that can effectively interfere with multifactorial diseases. In this study, we describe the application of ethanolic lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaves extract for the treatment of insulin-resistance and dyslipidemia in mice. We show that lemon balm extract (LBE) activates the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), which have key roles in the regulation of whole body glucose and lipid metabolism. Application of LBE (0.6 mg/mL) to human primary adipocytes resulted in specific peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor target gene expression. LBE treatment of insulin-resistant high-fat diet-fed C57BL/6 mice (200 mg/kg/day) for 6 weeks considerably reduced hyperglycemia and insulin resistance, plasma triacylglycerol, nonesterified fatty acids and LDL/VLDL cholesterol levels. Taken together, ethanolic lemon balm extract can potentially be used to prevent or concomitantly treat type 2 diabetes and associated disorders such as dyslipidemia and hypercholesterolemia.