Dietary capsaicin attenuates metabolic dysregulation in genetically obese diabetic mice

J Med Food. 2011 Mar;14(3):310-5. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.1367.


Metabolic dysregulation (e.g., hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, hyperlipidemia, etc.) is a hallmark of obesity-related diseases such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease. In this study, we assessed whether dietary capsaicin attenuated the metabolic dysregulation in genetically obese diabetic KKAy mice, which have severe diabetic phenotypes. Male KKAy mice fed a high-fat diet for 2 weeks received a 0.015% capsaicin supplement for a further 3 weeks and were compared with nonsupplemented controls. Dietary capsaicin markedly decreased fasting glucose/insulin and triglyceride levels in the plasma and/or liver, as well as expression of inflammatory adipocytokine genes (e.g., monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and interleukin-6) and macrophage infiltration. At the same time expression of the adiponectin gene/protein and its receptor, AdipoR2, increased in adipose tissue and/or plasma, accompanied by increased activation of hepatic AMP-activated protein kinase, a marker of fatty acid oxidation. These findings suggest that dietary capsaicin reduces metabolic dysregulation in obese/diabetic KKAy mice by enhancing expression of adiponectin and its receptor. Capsaicin may be useful as a dietary factor for reducing obesity-related metabolic dysregulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Adipokines / metabolism
  • Adiponectin / genetics
  • Adiponectin / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Capsaicin / therapeutic use*
  • Capsicum / chemistry*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Obese
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Receptors, Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Adipokines
  • Adiponectin
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, Adiponectin
  • Triglycerides
  • adiponectin receptor 2, mouse
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Capsaicin