Transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 channel regulates diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance, and leptin resistance

FASEB J. 2015 Aug;29(8):3182-92. doi: 10.1096/fj.14-268300. Epub 2015 Apr 17.


Insulin resistance is a major characteristic of obesity and type 2 diabetes, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. Recent studies have shown a metabolic role of capsaicin that may be mediated via the transient receptor potential vanilloid type-1 (TRPV1) channel. In this study, TRPV1 knockout (KO) and wild-type (WT) mice (as controls) were fed a high-fat diet (HFD), and metabolic studies were performed to measure insulin and leptin action. The TRPV1 KO mice became more obese than the WT mice after HFD, partly attributed to altered energy balance and leptin resistance in the KO mice. The hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp experiment showed that the TRPV1 KO mice were more insulin resistant after HFD because of the ∼40% reduction in glucose metabolism in the white and brown adipose tissue, compared with that in the WT mice. Leptin treatment failed to suppress food intake, and leptin-mediated hypothalamic signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3 activity was blunted in the TRPV1 KO mice. We also found that the TRPV1 KO mice were more obese and insulin resistant than the WT mice at 9 mo of age. Taken together, these results indicate that lacking TRPV1 exacerbates the obesity and insulin resistance associated with an HFD and aging, and our findings further suggest that TRPV1 has a major role in regulating glucose metabolism and hypothalamic leptin's effects in obesity.

Keywords: aging; capsaicin; glucose metabolism; hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Leptin / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • TRPV1 protein, mouse
  • Glucose