How Gambi-jung Fights Heart Cell Death from High-Fat Diets

Jim Crocker
24th April, 2024

How Gambi-jung Fights Heart Cell Death from High-Fat Diets

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In a Sangji University study, the herbal formula GBJ reduced heart cell death in obese mice
  • GBJ treatment showed no adverse effects on the heart, confirming its safety for long-term use
  • The study also found that GBJ improved mitochondrial function in the heart cells of obese mice
Obesity is a growing health concern that significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of death worldwide[2]. The heart, in particular, is vulnerable to obesity's damaging effects, including structural changes and functional impairments[3]. A recent study conducted by researchers at Sangji University sheds light on a promising herbal intervention that could mitigate these risks[1]. The main culprit behind obesity-related heart damage is a high-fat diet (HFD), which can lead to a condition known as cardiac apoptosis, where heart cells begin to die off prematurely. This process is marked by a complex interplay of molecular signals that tilt the balance towards cell death rather than survival. The study from Sangji University focused on an herbal formula known as Gambi-jung (GBJ), a modified version of the traditional Taeumjowi-tang, which has been shown to induce weight loss in obese mice. Despite the weight loss benefits, there were concerns about the primary herb in GBJ, Ephedra sinica Stapf (ES), due to potential adverse effects on the heart. To address these concerns, the researchers conducted a series of experiments to understand the impact of GBJ and ES on the hearts of obese mice. They fed mice a high-fat diet to induce obesity and then treated them with GBJ. Using Western blot analysis, a technique for detecting specific proteins within a tissue sample, they observed changes in the levels of proteins that either promote or prevent apoptosis. In obese mice, proteins that signal for cell death were more prevalent, while those that prevent cell death were reduced. Remarkably, GBJ treatment reversed these changes, suggesting a protective effect against heart cell death. Additionally, the study employed TUNEL staining, a method of highlighting DNA fragmentation typical of apoptosis, to directly visualize the dying cells in heart tissue. Mice treated with GBJ showed significantly fewer TUNEL-positive cells, which means there were less heart cells undergoing apoptosis. This finding was further supported by histological analysis, which revealed no adverse changes in the heart tissues of mice treated with GBJ or ES, indicating that the long-term use of these substances did not harm the heart. The study also found that GBJ improved mitochondrial function in the heart. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, and their dysfunction is a key factor in obesity-induced cardiac impairment[4]. GBJ seemed to regulate genes involved in maintaining mitochondrial health, which could explain its protective effects on the heart. These findings from Sangji University are significant because they not only suggest that GBJ could be a safe and effective treatment for obesity-related heart disease but also confirm the cardiac safety of long-term GBJ and ES administration. This research ties into previous studies that have explored the mechanisms by which obesity damages the heart, such as increased oxidative stress, inflammation, and changes in lipid metabolism[3][4]. The protective effects of GBJ could be a result of its influence on these pathways, although the exact mechanisms remain to be fully understood. Furthermore, the study resonates with past research that has identified potential therapeutic substances for obesity-induced heart conditions. For instance, andrographolide, a compound from Andrographis paniculata, has been shown to reduce cardiac damage in obese mice[5]. Like GBJ, andrographolide appears to mitigate the harmful effects of a high-fat diet on the heart. In conclusion, the research from Sangji University provides encouraging evidence that herbal treatments like GBJ could be beneficial for individuals suffering from obesity-related heart disease. It builds upon a foundation of earlier studies that have explored the impact of obesity on heart health and the potential of various compounds to counteract these effects[2][3][4][5]. While further research is needed to translate these findings into clinical applications, the study offers a beacon of hope for developing safe and natural therapies to protect the heart in the face of the obesity epidemic.



Main Study

1) Effect and mechanisms of Gambi-jung against high-fat diet-induced cardiac apoptosis in mice.

Published 30th April, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Obesity, Adipose Tissue and Vascular Dysfunction.

3) Manifestations and mechanisms of myocardial lipotoxicity in obesity.

4) High-fat diet induces cardiac remodelling and dysfunction: assessment of the role played by SIRT3 loss.

5) Andrographolide mitigates cardiac apoptosis to provide cardio-protection in high-fat-diet-induced obese mice.

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