Preventive and Therapeutic Effects of Silybum marianum Seed Extract Rich in Silydianin and Silychristin in a Rat Model of Metabolic Syndrome

Published: 2023
ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science


Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has become an increasing global health problem, which leads to cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Silybum marianum extracts have been reported to possess several biological activities. In this study, an ethyl acetate extract prepared from S. marianum seeds of the Iraqi Kurdistan region was analyzed to identify its chemical constituents. Subsequently, its potential for the prevention and treatment of MetS was studied in a rat model induced by a high-fat/high-fructose diet (HFD/F). Silydianin and silychristin were the most abundant flavonolignan constituents (39.4%) identified in the S. marianum extract (SMEE). HFD/F-induced rats treated with SMEE exhibited preventive effects including reduced serum triglyceride levels (TG), decreased glucose levels in an oral glucose tolerance test (p < 0.001), attenuated weight gain, and reduced blood pressure compared to the untreated control group. Therapeutic application of SMEE after inducing MetS led to lowering of TG (p < 0.001) and glucose levels, in addition to reducing weight gain and normalizing blood pressure (p < 0.005). Thus, S. marianum extract rich in silydianin and silychristin may be useful for preventing and attenuating MetS, and further research and clinical trials are warranted.