Extra virgin olive oil increases uncoupling protein 1 content in brown adipose tissue and enhances noradrenaline and adrenaline secretions in rats

J Nutr Biochem. 2007 Oct;18(10):685-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2006.11.009. Epub 2007 Apr 5.


The effects of extra virgin olive oil (EV-olive oil) on triglyceride metabolism were investigated by measuring the degree of thermogenesis in interscapular brown adipose tissue (IBAT) and the rates of noradrenaline and adrenaline secretions in rats, both in vivo and in situ. In Experiment 1 (in vivo), rats were given an isoenergetic high-fat diet (30% fat diet) containing corn oil, refined olive oil, or EV-olive oil. After 28 days of feeding, the final body weight, weight gain, energy efficiency, perirenal adipose tissue and epididymal fat pad and plasma triglyceride concentrations were the lowest in the rats fed the EV-olive oil diet. The content of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in IBAT and the rates of urinary noradrenaline and adrenaline excretions were the highest in the rats fed the EV-olive oil diet. In Experiment 2 (in situ), the effects of the extract of the phenolic fraction from EV-olive oil and a compound having excellent characteristics as components of EV-olive oil, hydroxytyrosol, on noradrenaline and adrenaline secretions were evaluated. The intravenous administration of the extract of the phenolic fraction from EV-olive oil significantly increased plasma noradrenaline and adrenaline concentrations, whereas that of hydroxytyrosol had no effect. These results suggest that phenols except hydroxytyrosol in EV-olive oil enhance thermogenesis by increasing the UCP1 content in IBAT and enhancing noradrenaline and adrenaline secretions in rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Corn Oil / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Epinephrine / metabolism*
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism*
  • Olive Oil
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Uncoupling Protein 1


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Ion Channels
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Ucp1 protein, rat
  • Uncoupling Protein 1
  • 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol
  • Corn Oil
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine