J Funct Food.2015 Apr;14:456-468.

Disturbance of the intestinal microbial community by mursolic acid contributes to its function as a regulator of fat deposition

Zemeng Fenga, Chunli Wub, Jiaogen Zhoua,F ei Wua, Jun Lia, Tiejun Lia, Yulong Yina, c, ,

  • a Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Research Center of Healthy Breeding Livestock & Poultry, Hunan Engineering & Research Center of Animal & Poultry Science, Key Lab Agro-Ecology Processing Subtropical Region, Scientific Observational and Experimental Station of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science in South-Central, Ministry of Agriculture, Changsha, Hunan, China
  • b College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Zhongkai University of Agriculture and Engineering, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
  • c Southwest Collaborative Innovation center of swine for quality & safety, 211#211Huiming Road, Wenjiang district, Chengdu, China



The intestinal microbiota has been noted to contribute to obesity. Ursolic acid may have potential in the prevention and treatment of obesity, however, little is known about the underlying mechanism. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of the oral intake of ursolic acid on the intestinal microbiota of rats. The results showed that: (i) ursolic acid decreased the microbial diversity in the proximal intestine while having an opposite effect in the distal intestine; (ii) Fat enhanced the effect of ursolic acid on the microbiota in the proximal intestine while attenuating its effect in the distal intestine; (iii) Ursolic acid inhibited colonization by energy harvest-related microbes; and (iv) Ursolic acid may enhance intestinal health by inhibiting colonization by Proteobacteria. Thus, the intestinal microbiota contributes to the function of ursolic acid as a regulator of the nutritional status.



Ursolic acid (UA) is a focused molecular that possess wide range of biological functions. The role of it in the prevention and treatment of obesity was interest us, for we tried to found an agent to study the protein and fat deposition regulation in life (1, 2). It’s energy deposition regulation function just meet our requirements. Previous studies found intestinal microbiota also contribute the fat storage and amino acid metabolism (3, 4), then we hypothesized that microbiota may be involved in the effect from UA on protein and fat deposition.

To test the hypothesis, the composition of intestinal microbiota from rats supplied with different dose UA and dietary fat were sequenced using illumina MiSeq sequencing platform based on the 16s DNA amplification. The result shows the intestinal microbiota contribute to the function of UA as a regulator of the nutritional status by inhibiting the colonization of energy harvest related microbes in rat intestine, and confirmed our hypothesis.

This study was the initiate and roughly. The metabolite activity of the intestinal microbiota samples should also analyst to determine the pathway changes on amino acid and fat metabolism. The germ-free animals used experiment should also be carried out to further our hypothesis.



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This work was supported by the Key Project of Chinese National Programs for Fundamental Research and Development (973 program) (Grant Nos. 2012CB124704, 2013CB127301 and 2013CB127306) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 31330075 and 31110103909), We thank Dr. Francois Blachier, who is an invited senior international scientist (Grant No. 2013T2S0014) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, for his helpful discussion. We also thank Dr. Rong Sheng from the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture,The Chinese Academy of Sciences, for her help with the data analysis.


ze fig1Contact:

Yulong Yin, Ph.D. Professor and Chair Research Center of Healthy Livestock & Poultry Breeding

Yuanda RD2, #644, Furong District,Changsha

Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Huna, CN 410125

yinyulong@isa.ac.cn http://www.isa.ac.cn/


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