Cyanidin-3-glucoside increases whole body energy metabolism by upregulating brown adipose tissue mitochondrial function

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Nov;61(11). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201700261. Epub 2017 Aug 28.


Scope: Obesity develops when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure. Promoting brown adipose tissue (BAT) formation and function increases energy expenditure and may protect against obesity. Cyanidin-3-glucoside (C3G) is an anthocyanin compound that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. In this study, we investigated the effect and mechanism of C3G on the prevention of obesity.

Methods and results: Db/db mice received C3G dissolved in drinking water for 16 wk; drinking water served as the vehicle treatment. The total body weight, energy intake, metabolic rate, and physical activity were measured. The lipid droplets, gene expression and protein expression were evaluated by histochemical staining, real-time PCR, and western blots. We found that C3G increased energy expenditure, limited weight gain, maintained glucose homeostasis, reversed hepatic steatosis, improved cold tolerance, and enhanced BAT activity in obese db/db mice. C3G also induces brown-like adipocytes (beige) formation in subcutaneous white adipose tissue (sWAT) of db/db mice model. We also found that C3G potently regulates the transcription of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) both in BAT and sWAT through increasing mitochondrial number and function.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that C3G plays a role in regulating systemic energy balance, which may have potential therapeutic implications for the prevention and control of obesity.

Keywords: Brown adipose tissue; Cyanidin-3-glucoside; Energy metabolism; Mitochondrial function; Obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / enzymology
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / ultrastructure
  • Adipose Tissue, White / enzymology
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, White / pathology
  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / therapeutic use*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glucosides / therapeutic use*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Locomotion
  • Male
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / prevention & control
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Thermotolerance
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / genetics
  • Uncoupling Protein 1 / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation*
  • Whole Body Imaging


  • Anthocyanins
  • Glucosides
  • Ucp1 protein, mouse
  • Uncoupling Protein 1
  • cyanidin-3-O-beta-glucopyranoside