Mangiferin Stimulates Carbohydrate Oxidation and Protects against High Fat Diet Induced Metabolic Disorders

  1. Yuling Chi1
  1. 1Department of Medicine,
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics,
  3. 3Department of Pharmacology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, 10065, USA.
  4. 4Department of Physiology & Biophysics, and Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center,
  5. 5Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, 10461, USA.
  1. Corresponding authors: Yuling Chi, E-mail: yuling.chi{at}


Excessive dietary fat intake causes systemic metabolic toxicity, manifested in weight gain, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. In addition, carbohydrate utilization as a fuel is substantially inhibited. Correction or reversal of these effects during high fat diet (HFD) intake is of exceptional interest in light of widespread occurrence of diet-associated metabolic disorders in global human populations. Here we report that mangiferin (MGF), a natural compound (the predominant constituent of Mangifera indica extract from the plant that produces mango), protected against HFD-induced weight gain, increased aerobic mitochondrial capacity and thermogenesis, and improved glucose and insulin profiles. To obtain mechanistic insight into the basis for these effects, we determined that mice exposed to HFD combined with MGF exhibited a substantial shift in respiratory quotient from fatty acid toward carbohydrate utilization. MGF treatment significantly increased glucose oxidation, without changing fatty acid oxidation, in muscle of HFD-fed mice. These results indicate that MGF redirects fuel utilization towards carbohydrates. In cultured C2C12 myotubes MGF increased glucose and pyruvate oxidation and ATP production, without affecting fatty acid oxidation, confirming in vivo and ex vivo effects. Furthermore, MGF inhibited anaerobic metabolism of pyruvate to lactate, but enhanced pyruvate oxidation. A key target of MGF appears to be pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), determined to be activated by MGF in a variety of assays. These findings underscore the therapeutic potential of activation of carbohydrate utilization in correction of metabolic syndrome, and highlight the potential of MGF to serve as a model compound that can elicit fuel switching effects.

  • Received January 3, 2014.
  • Accepted May 15, 2014.

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