Lycopene supplementation attenuates western diet-induced body weight gain through increasing the expressions of thermogenic/mitochondrial functional genes and improving insulin resistance in the adipose tissue of obese mice

J Nutr Biochem. 2019 Jul:69:63-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2019.03.008. Epub 2019 Apr 4.


This passive overconsumption of western diet has precipitated a steep rise in obesity and its comorbidities, and obesity has become one of the main threats to health worldwide. Thus, deciphering the molecular mechanisms leading to obesity is therefore of utmost importance to guide the search for novel therapeutic and preventive strategies. Lycopene (LYC), a major carotenoid present in tomato, has been regarded as a nutraceutical that has powerful anti-oxidant and anti-obesity bioactivities. Even though substantial progress has been made in deciphering the mechanism of how LYC affects obesity in recent years, whether thermogenic genes, mitochondrial function and insulin resistance are involved in the anti-obesity effect of LYC is yet to be elucidated. In the current study, we demonstrated that LYC remarkably suppressed HFFD-elevated mice body weight gain. LYC blocked lipid accumulation in adipose tissue by decreasing the expressions of lipogenesis genes and increasing the expressions of lipidolysis related genes, including thermogenic and mitochondrial functional genes. Moreover, LYC improved HFFD-induced insulin resistance in WATs via inhibiting the inflammation responses in WATs, decreasing circulating proinflammatory cytokines, suppressing gut leak and intestinal inflammation. Our study indicating that the supplementation of LYC might be a nutritional preventive strategy to combat obesity.

Keywords: Autophagy; Insulin resistance; Lycopene; Mitochondrial functional genes; Thermogenic genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipocytes / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Autophagy / drug effects
  • Diet, Western / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fructose / adverse effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Inflammation / diet therapy
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Lycopene / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Thermogenesis / drug effects
  • Thermogenesis / genetics
  • Weight Gain / drug effects*
  • Weight Gain / genetics


  • Fructose
  • Lycopene