PMID: Lipids Health Dis. 2019 Jan 8 ;18(1):11. Epub 2019 Jan 8. PMID: 30621686 Abstract Title: Crocin ameliorates hepatic steatosis through activation of AMPK signaling in db/db mice. Abstract: BACKGROUND: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is closely linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders worldwide. Crocin is a carotenoid compound possessing various pharmacological activities. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effect on fatty liver under diabetic and obese condition and to examine the possible role of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling.METHODS: db/db mice were administrated with crocin and injected with LV-shAMPK or its negative control lentivirus. Metabolic dysfunction, lipogenesis and fatty acid-oxidation in liver were evaluated.RESULTS: In db/db mice, we found that oral administration of crocin significantly upregulated the phosphorylation of AMPK and downregulated the phosphorylation of mTOR in liver. Crocin reduced liver weight, serum levels of alanine aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and liver triglyceride content, and attenuated morphological injury of liver in db/db mice. Crocin inhibited the mRNA expression of lipogenesis-associated genes, including sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptorγ, fatty acid synthase, stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1, and diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1, and increased the mRNA expression of genes involved in the regulation of β-oxidation of fatty acids, including PPARα, acyl-CoA oxidase 1, carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1, and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase 2. Moreover, treatment of crocin resulted in a amelioration of general metabolic disorder, as evidenced by decreased fasting blood glucose, reduced serum levels of insulin, triglyceride, total cholesterol, and non-esterified fatty acid, and improved glucose intolerance. Crocin-induced protective effects against fatty liver and metabolic disorder were significantly blocked by lentivirus-mediated downregulation of AMPK.CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that crocin can inhibit lipogenesis and promoteβ-oxidation of fatty acids through activation of AMPK, leading to improvement of fatty liver and metabolic dysfunction. Therefore, crocin may be a potential promising option for the clinical treatment for NAFLD and associated metabolic diseases.