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Uncaria tomentosa improves insulin sensitivity and inflammation in experimental NAFLD

We investigated the effect of the crude herbal extract from Uncaria tomentosa (UT) on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in two models of obesity: high fat diet (HFD) and genetically obese (ob/ob) mice. Both obese mouse models were insulin resistant and exhibited an abundance of lipid droplets in the hepatocytes and inflammatory cell infiltration in the liver, while only the HFD group had collagen deposition in the perivascular space of the liver. UT treatment significantly reduced liver steatosis and inflammation in both obese mouse models. Furthermore, serine phosphorylation of IRS-1 was reduced by 25% in the HFD mice treated with UT. Overall, UT treated animals exhibited higher insulin sensitivity as compared to vehicle administration. In conclusion, Uncaria tomentosa extract improved glucose homeostasis and reverted NAFLD to a benign hepatic steatosis condition and these effects were associated with the attenuation of liver inflammation in obese mice.