Increase in swimming endurance capacity of mice by capsaicin-induced adrenal catecholamine secretion

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1997 Oct;61(10):1718-23. doi: 10.1271/bbb.61.1718.


Increase in endurance swimming capacity caused by capsaicin (CAP), a pungent component of red pepper, -induced increase of fat metabolism in mice was investigated using an adjustable-current water pool. The mice administered CAP via a stomach tube, showed longer swimming time until exhaustion than the control group of mice, in a dose-dependent manner. The maximal effect was observed at a dose of 10 mg/kg while more than 15 mg/kg had no effect. The increase of endurance was observed only when CAP was administered two hours before swimming. After the administration of CAP, the serum glucose concentration rapidly increased and then decreased within 60 min, while the concentration of serum-free fatty acids gradually increased through 3 hours. The residual glycogen concentration of the gastrocnemius muscle after 30 min of swimming was significantly higher in the CAP-administered mice than in control mice, suggesting that use of the serum free fatty acids spared muscle glycogen consumption. The serum adrenaline concentration significantly increased with twin peaks at 30 min and two hours after administration of CAP. An experiment using adrenalectomized mice was done to confirm that the effect of CAP is due to increased energy metabolism through the secretion of adrenaline from the adrenal gland. The swimming endurance capacity of the adrenalectomized mice was not increased by CAP administration, although adrenaline injection induced a 58% increase in the endurance time. These results suggest that the increase of swimming endurance induced by CAP in mice is caused by an increase in fatty acid utilization due to CAP-induced adrenal catecholamine secretion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Capsaicin / administration & dosage
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Epinephrine / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Swimming


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids
  • Glycogen
  • Capsaicin
  • Epinephrine