Citrus aurantium and Rhodiola rosea in combination reduce visceral white adipose tissue and increase hypothalamic norepinephrine in a rat model of diet-induced obesity

Jessica L Verpeut 1Amy L WaltersNicholas T Bello



Extracts from the immature fruit of Citrus aurantium are often used for weight loss but are reported to produce adverse cardiovascular effects. Root extracts of Rhodiola rosea have notable antistress properties. The hypothesis of these studies was that C aurantium (6% synephrine) and R rosea (3% rosavins, 1% salidroside) in combination would improve diet-induced obesity alterations in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. In normal-weight animals fed standard chow, acute administration of C aurantium (1-10 mg/kg) or R rosea (2-20 mg/kg) alone did not reduce deprivation-induced food intake, but C aurantium (5.6 mg/kg) + R rosea (20 mg/kg) produced a 10.5% feeding suppression. Animals maintained (13 weeks) on a high-fat diet (60% fat) were exposed to 10-day treatments of C aurantium (5.6 mg/kg) or R rosea (20 mg/kg) alone or in combination. Additional groups received vehicle (2% ethanol) or were pair fed to the C aurantium + R rosea group. Although high-fat diet intake and weight loss were not influenced, C aurantium + R rosea had a 30% decrease in visceral fat weight compared with the other treatments. Only the C aurantium group had an increased heart rate (+7%) compared with vehicle. In addition, C aurantium + R rosea administration resulted in an elevation (+15%) in hypothalamic norepinephrine and an elevation (+150%) in frontal cortex dopamine compared with the pair-fed group. These initial findings suggest that treatments of C aurantium + R rosea have actions on central monoamine pathways and have the potential to be beneficial for the treatment of obesity.