Dietary saponins of sea cucumber ameliorate obesity, hepatic steatosis, and glucose intolerance in high-fat diet-fed mice

J Med Food. 2012 Oct;15(10):909-16. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2011.2042. Epub 2012 Aug 16.


Much attention has been focused on food components that may be beneficial in preventing lifestyle-related diseases. In this study, we investigated the effects of saponins of sea cucumber (SSC) on high-fat diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. C57/BL6 mice were fed a high-fat diet, containing 0.03% SSC, or 0.1% SSC for 8 weeks. Both doses of SSC exhibited a weight-loss effect and significantly decreased adipose tissue weight, in both visceral and subcutaneous depots. Furthermore, 0.1% SSC treatment dramatically decreased the hepatic triglyceride and total cholesterol accumulation. Mice administrated with 0.1% SSC had significantly decreased serum glucose and insulin levels, lower homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance index, and area under the blood glucose curve, suggesting that insulin sensitivity is enhanced by dietary SSC. Dietary SSC also prevented adipokine imbalance, by increasing adiponectin production and decreasing tumor necrosis factor alpha level caused by high-fat diet. Overall, these data demonstrate that SSC could improve certain metabolic parameters associated with obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy*
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Glucose Intolerance / drug therapy*
  • Glucose Intolerance / physiopathology
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Saponins / administration & dosage*
  • Sea Cucumbers / chemistry*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • Adiponectin
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Insulin
  • Saponins
  • Triglycerides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha