Objective: We previously reported that the flavonoid cirsimarin exerts in vitro a strong lipolytic activity on isolated adipocytes. This study was therefore designed to evaluate in vivo the effects of cirsimarin on white adipose tissue (WAT) accretion in mice.
Methods: Male CD1 mice were injected daily with either vehicle (intraperitoneal (i.p.)) or cirsimarin (25 or 50 mg kg(-1) per day, i.p.) for 18 days. Mice were killed and fat pads weighted. Epididymal fat pads were used for cellularity measurement. Effects of cirsimarin treatment on lipolysis and lipogenesis in WAT were assessed.
Results: Mice treated with 25 or 50 mg kg(-1) per day cirsimarin showed a decrease in retroperitoneal (-29 and -37% respectively, P<0.005) and epididymal (-25 and -28% respectively, P<0.005) fat pad weights compared with controls. This effect was restricted to intra-abdominal WAT as no difference was noticed for subcutaneous inguinal WAT. The decrease in intra-abdominal WAT accretion was due to a decrease in adipose cell diameter (-5 and -8% for 25 and 50 mg kg(-1) per day cirsimarin, respectively) resulting in a 14 and 35% decrease in adipose cell volume while no change was noticed in total adipocyte number. Direct injection of cirsimarin (50 mg kg(-1)) to rats did not trigger lipolysis. In contrast, cirsimarin showed in vivo as well as in vitro a strong antilipogenic activity, which may be the critical aspect of its effects on fat accretion in mice. The inhibitory concentration 50% of cirsimarin on lipogenic activity in isolated adipocytes was found to be 1.28±0.04 μM. Cirsimarin given orally reduced intra-abdominal fat accretion in mice.
Conclusion: Cirsimarin exerts potent antilipogenic effect and decreases adipose tissue deposition in mice. Cirsimarin could therefore be a potential candidate for the treatment of obesity.