A Lipophilic Fucoxanthin-Rich Phaeodactylum tricornutum Extract Ameliorates Effects of Diet-Induced Obesity in C57BL/6J Mice

Nutrients. 2019 Apr 6;11(4):796. doi: 10.3390/nu11040796.


Phaeodactylum tricornutum (P. tricornutum) comprise several lipophilic constituents with proposed anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. We investigated the effect of an ethanolic P. tricornutum extract (PTE) on energy metabolism in obesity-prone mice fed a high fat diet (HFD). Six- to eight-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were switched to HFD and, at the same time, received orally placebo or PTE (100 mg or 300 mg/kg body weight/day). Body weight, body composition, and food intake were monitored. After 26 days, blood and tissue samples were collected for biochemical, morphological, and gene expression analyses. PTE-supplemented mice accumulated fucoxanthin metabolites in adipose tissues and attained lower body weight gain, body fat content, weight of white adipose tissue (WAT) depots, and inguinal WAT adipocyte size than controls, independent of decreased food intake. PTE supplementation was associated with lower expression of Mest (a marker of fat tissue expandability) in WAT depots, lower gene expression related to lipid uptake and turnover in visceral WAT, increased expression of genes key to fatty acid oxidation and thermogenesis (Cpt1, Ucp1) in subcutaneous WAT, and signs of thermogenic activation including enhanced UCP1 protein in interscapular brown adipose tissue. In conclusion, these data show the potential of PTE to ameliorate HFD-induced obesity in vivo.

Keywords: Phaeodactylum tricornutum; brown adipose tissue; browning; eicosapentanoic acid; fucoxanthin; microalgae; obesity.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / drug effects
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microalgae / chemistry*
  • Obesity / chemically induced*
  • Xanthophylls / chemistry
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Xanthophylls
  • fucoxanthin