Academic Editor: Salvatore Nesci
Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become a prevalent issue and a consequence of metabolic syndrome impact on human health. Both of anti-atherosclerosis and anti-hepatic fibrosis capabilities of herbal medicine Ger-Gen-Chyn-Lian-Tang (GGCLT) has attracted attention, but their molecular regulatory mechanisms in a NAFLD model have not been elucidated. The aim of the present study was to explore the bioactivity of db/db mice following treatment with GGCLT. Methods: NAFLD phenotype of db/db mice were treated with GGCLT and lipogenesis, mitochondria dysfunction, mitophagy, macrophage polarization and adipose tissue browning were then evaluated using qRT-PCR and/or Western blot analysis, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry assays, respectively. Results: GGCLT not only decreased serum levels of TG and free fatty acids, but glucose and insulin tolerance test in db/db mice. In parallel, GGCLT reduced lipogenesis and hypoxia-inflammation cascades in NAFLD progression. GGCLT reduced lipid accumulation and was accompanied by the enhanced mitochondria biogenesis, M2 macrophage, and decreased M1 macrophage. The latter two events contributing to the anti-inflammation are resulting from mitochondria dynamics, and the lipotoxicity lowering effect of GGCLT of NAFLD mice is mediated by promoting mitophagy in Parkin-dependent and -independent pathways, by mitochondrial fusion over fission manner. GGCLT also inactivated lipogenesis and decreased lipid accumulation in epididymal white adipose tissue with a higher M2/M1 macrophage ratio. Conclusions: Besides in the liver, modulating of mitochondrial biogenesis and adipose tissue browning were characterized by increased Tmem26, Tfam, and Prdm16 expression by GGCLT in EWAT also contributes to the beneficial action in NAFLD.