Benzylamine is found in Moringa oleifera, a plant used to treat diabetes in traditional medicine. In mammals, benzylamine is metabolized by semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase (SSAO) to benzaldehyde and hydrogen peroxide. This latter product has insulin-mimicking action, and is involved in the effects of benzylamine on human adipocytes: stimulation of glucose transport and inhibition of lipolysis. This study examined whether chronic, oral administration of benzylamine could improve glucose tolerance and the circulating lipid profile without increasing oxidative stress in overweight and pre-diabetic mice. The benzylamine diffusion across the intestine was verified using everted gut sacs. Then, glucose handling and metabolic markers were measured in mice rendered insulin-resistant when fed a high-fat diet (HFD) and receiving or not benzylamine in their drinking water (3600 μmol/(kg day)) for 17 weeks. HFD-benzylamine mice showed lower body weight gain, fasting blood glucose, total plasma cholesterol and hyperglycaemic response to glucose load when compared to HFD control. In adipocytes, insulin-induced activation of glucose transport and inhibition of lipolysis remained unchanged. In aorta, benzylamine treatment partially restored the nitrite levels that were reduced by HFD. In liver, lipid peroxidation markers were reduced. Resistin and uric acid, surrogate plasma markers of metabolic syndrome, were decreased. In spite of the putative deleterious nature of the hydrogen peroxide generated during amine oxidation, and in agreement with its in vitro insulin-like actions found on adipocytes, the SSAO-substrate benzylamine could be considered as a potential oral agent to treat metabolic syndrome.
- Adipose tissue
- Monoamine oxidase
- Semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase
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