Effects of pregnane glycosides on food intake depend on stimulation of the melanocortin pathway and BDNF in an animal model. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. February 27, 2013. Komarnytsky S, Esposito D, Rathinasabapathy T, Poulev A, Raskin I.
NC State University Plants for Human Health Institute, NC Research Campus.
Pregnane glycosides appear to modulate food intake by possibly affecting the hypothalamic feeding circuits; however, the mechanisms of the appetite-regulating effect of pregnane glycosides remain obscure. Here, we show that pregnane glycoside-enriched extracts from swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata at 25-100 mg/kg daily attenuated food intake (up to 47.1 ± 8.5% less than controls) and body weight gain in rats (10% for males and 9% for females, respectively) by activating melanocortin signaling and inhibiting gastric emptying. The major milkweed pregnane glycoside, ikemagenin, exerted its appetite-regulating effect by decreasing levels of agouti-related protein (0.6-fold) but not NPY satiety peptides. Ikemagenin treatment also increased secretion of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) downstream of melanocortin receptors in the hypothalamus (1.4-fold) and in the C6 rat glioma cell culture in vitro (up to 6-fold). These results support the multimodal effects of pregnane glycosides on feeding regulation, which depends on the activity of the melanocortin signaling pathway and BDNF.