Reduction of Body Weight by Capsaicin is Associated with Inhibition of Glycerol-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Activity and Stimulation of Uncoupling Protein 2 mRNA Expression in Diet-induced Obese Rats

  • Ann, Ji-Young (Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University) ;
  • Lee, Mak-Soon (Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University) ;
  • Joo, Hyun-Jin (Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University) ;
  • Kim, Chong-Tai (Food NanoBio Research Group, Korea Food Research Institute) ;
  • Kim, Yang-Ha (Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University)
  • Received : 2011.06.22
  • Accepted : 2011.09.07
  • Published : 2011.09.30


Capsaicin is a pungent component of red pepper, which is widely consumed as food adjuncts. The present study was performed to investigate anti-obesity effects of capsaicin in diet-induced obese rats. Male Sprague-Dawley rats (n=14) were fed with a high-fat diet (Control) or high-fat diet containing 0.016% capsaicin (w/w) (Capsaicin) for 8 weeks. The final body weight and the mass of white adipose tissue were significantly lower in capsaicin supplemented group compared to control. Dietary capsaicin ameliorated lipid profiles with decrease in the plasma concentrations of triglycerides and total cholesterol, and decrease in the levels of total lipids and triglycerides in the liver. Activity of glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH), an indicator of triglyceride biosynthesis in white adipose tissue, decreased by 35% in the group supplemented with capsaicin. However, consumption of capsaicin increased the expression of uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) in white adipose tissue, which is related to energy consumption. Our data suggests that capsaicin may reduce body weight and fat accumulation in high fat diet-induced obese rats. These effects may be mediated, at least partially, by the upregulation of UCP2 gene expression and its ability to inhibit GPDH activity.



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