Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)

Topical application of capsaicin reduces visceral adipose fat by affecting adipokine levels in high-fat diet-induced obese mice.

PMID 23505175


Visceral obesity contributes to the development of obesity-related disorders such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and fatty liver disease, as well as cardiovascular diseases. In this study, we determined whether topical application of capsaicin can reduce fat accumulation in visceral adipose tissues. We first observed that topical application of 0.075% capsaicin to male mice fed a high-fat diet significantly reduced weight gain and visceral fat. Fat cells were markedly smaller in the mesenteric and epididymal adipose tissues of mice treated with capsaicin cream. The capsaicin treatment also lowered serum levels of fasting glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. Immunoblot analysis and RT-PCR revealed increased expression of adiponectin and other adipokines including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) α, PPARγ, visfatin, and adipsin, but reduced expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and IL-6. These results indicate that topical application of capsaicin to obese mice limits fat accumulation in adipose tissues and may reduce inflammation and increase insulin sensitivity.