The grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus) eating in captivity. © Eric Guéton/CNRS/MNHN

The anti-obesity properties of resveratrol have been demonstrated for the first time in a primate. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Physiology studied the compound, generated naturally by plants to ward off pathogens, which has received much interest as a dietary supplement for its supposed life-extending effects.

Fabienne Aujard, from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France, worked with a team of researchers to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation with on the weight, metabolism and energy intake of six mouse lemurs.

She said, "The physiological benefits of resveratrol are currently under intensive investigation, with recent work suggesting that it could be a good candidate for the development of obesity therapies. We've found that lemurs eating a diet supplemented with the compound decreased their energy intake by 13% and increased their resting metabolic rate by 29%".

The researchers demonstrated that a four-week resveratrol supplementation was associated with a decrease in and a reduction in seasonal gain. The response to resveratrol supplementation also involved significant changes in the animals' body temperatures. According to Dr Aujard, "These results provide novel information on the potential effects of resveratrol on energy metabolism and control of body mass in a primate".

More information: Resveratrol suppresses body mass gain in a seasonal non-human primate model of obesity, Alexandre Dal-Pan, Stephane Blanc and Fabienne Aujard, BMC Physiology (in press),

Provided by BioMed Central