Date of Completion


Embargo Period



guinea pig, Moringa leaves, non-alcoholif fatty liver, inflammation, gene expression

Major Advisor

Maria Luz Fernandez, PhD

Associate Advisor

Marcela Vergara-Jimenez, PhD

Associate Advisor

Christopher N Blesso, PhD

Associate Advisor

Hedley Freake, PhD

Associate Advisor

Ock K. Chun, PhD, MPH

Field of Study

Nutritional Science


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Moringa leaves (ML), have been recognized for their protective effects against chronic disease. To evaluate the protective effects of ML on hepatic steatosis and systemic inflammation, we used the guinea pig model. Male Hartley guinea pigs were assigned (n=8/group) to consume either a control diet (0 g Moringa), Low Moringa (LM) (10 %) or High Moringa (HM) (15%) diets, which were supplemented with 0.25% dietary cholesterol to induce hepatic steatosis. After 6 weeks, blood, liver, and adipose tissue were collected for determination of plasma lipids and lipoproteins, tissue cholesterol concentrations, inflammatory cytokines and expression of genes regulating hepatic cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism. There were no differences in plasma total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, glucose or insulin among groups. However, medium HDL concentrations as measured by nuclear magnetic resonance were higher and plasma lecithin cholesterol acyl transferase activity was higher in both Moringa groups compared to controls suggesting HDL metabolism was affected. Hepatic total cholesterol and triglycerides exhibited a dose response effect with the lowest values observed in the HM group (p < 0.01). The hepatic cytokines interleukin (IL)-1, 1L-10 and interferon γ were lowest in the HM group, intermediate in the LM and highest in the control group (p

diglyceride acyl transferase and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γwere lowest in the HM, intermediate in LM and highest in the control group (p< 0.01). The high cholesterol diet resulted in accumulation of cholesterol and inflammation in the adipose tissue, which was not prevented by Moringa treatment. We conclude that ML protect against hepatic steatosis by affecting genes involved in synthesis and uptake of hepatic lipids resulting in lower concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides and reduced inflammation, however, plasma lipids and adipose tissue cholesterol and inflammation were not affected significantly by ML consumption.