Leong PK, Leung HY, Wong HS, Chen J, Chan WM, Ma CW, Yang Y, Ko KM
 Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear water bay, Hong Kong.
 Infinitus (China) Company Ltd., Guangzhou, China.
Obesity has been found to be associated with increased incidence of various metabolic disorders. Anti-obesity interventions are therefore urgently needed. An earlier study has demonstrated that treatment with an herbal formula MCC, which comprises the fruit of Momordica charantia (MC), the pericarpium of Citri reticulate (CR) and L-carnitine (CA), reduced the weight gain in high fat diet (HFD)-fed mice. In the present study, we investigated the effect of long-term treatment with MCC (6 g/kg/day x 40 doses) and various combinations of its constituents in HFD-fed female ICR mice. Body weight change was monitored during the course of the experiment. Total and differential adiposity, plasma lipid contents, metabolic enzyme activities and mitochondrial coupling efficiency in skeletal muscle were measured. Glucose homeostasis was also assessed. Results showed that HFD increased the body weight, total and differential adiposity, and plasma lipid contents as well as impaired metabolic status in skeletal muscle and glucose homeostasis. MCC and all combinations of its constituents reduced the weight gain in HFD-fed mice, which was accompanied with an improvement on glucose homeostasis. While MC, CA and CR independently suppressed the HFD-induced weight gain in mice, MC seems to be the most effective in weight reduction, all of which correlated with the induction of mitochondrial uncoupling in skeletal muscle. Only CA and CR, but not MC, significantly reduced the total adiposity and visceral adiposity as well as plasma cholesterol level. However, the two component combinations, MC + CR and MC + CA, decreased the degree of visceral adiposity and plasma cholesterol level, respectively. MCC treatment at 1.5 g/kg (but not a higher dose of 6 g/kg) suppressed visceral adiposity and induced mitochondrial uncoupling in skeletal muscle in HFD-fed mice. The finding suggests that MCC may offer a promising prospect for ameliorating the diet-induced obesity and metabolic disorders in humans.