High fructose diet-induced metabolic syndrome: Pathophysiological mechanism and treatment by traditional Chinese medicine

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Fructose is a natural monosaccharide broadly used in modern society. Over the past few decades, epidemiological studies have demonstrated that high fructose intake is an etiological factor of metabolic syndrome (MetS). This review highlights research advances on fructose-induced MetS, especially the underlying pathophysiological mechanism as well as pharmacotherapy by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), using the PubMed, Web of science, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, China Science and Technology Journal and Wanfang Data. This review focuses on de novo lipogenesis (DNL) and uric acid (UA) production, two unique features of fructolysis different from glucose glycolysis. High level of DNL and UA production can result in insulin resistance, the key pathological event in developing MetS, mostly through oxidative stress and inflammation. Some other pathologies like the disturbance in brain and gut microbiota in the development of fructose-induced MetS in the past years, are also discussed. In management of MetS, TCM is an excellent representative in alternative and complementary medicine with a complete theory system and substantial herbal remedies. TCMs against MetS or MetS components, including Chinese patent medicines, TCM compound formulas, single TCM herbs and active compounds of TCM herbs, are reviewed on their effects and molecular mechanisms. TCMs with hypouricemic activity, which specially target fructose-induced MetS, are highlighted. And new technologies and strategies (such as high-throughput assay and systems biology) in this field are further discussed. In summary, fructose-induced MetS is a multifactorial disorder with the underlying complex mechanisms. Current clinical and pre-clinical evidence supports the potential of TCMs in management of MetS. Additionally, TCMs may show some advantages against complex MetS as their holistic feature through multiple target actions. However, further work is needed to confirm the effectivity and safety of TCMs by high-standard clinical trials, clarify the molecular mechanisms, and develop new anti-MetS drugs by development and application of optimized and feasible strategies and methods

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