European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 149–158

Dietary cocoa ameliorates obesity-related inflammation in high fat-fed mice

Authors

  • Yeyi Gu
    • Center of Excellence for Plant and Mushroom Foods and Health, Department of Food ScienceThe Pennsylvania State University
  • Shan Yu
    • Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Intercollege Graduate Program in PhysiologyThe Pennsylvania State University
    • Center of Excellence for Plant and Mushroom Foods and Health, Department of Food ScienceThe Pennsylvania State University
Original Contribution

DOI: 10.1007/s00394-013-0510-1

Cite this article as:
Gu, Y., Yu, S. & Lambert, J.D. Eur J Nutr (2014) 53: 149. doi:10.1007/s00394-013-0510-1

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the effect of cocoa powder supplementation on obesity-related inflammation in high fat (HF)-fed obese mice.

Methods

Male C57BL/6J (n = 126) were fed with either low-fat (LF, 10 % kcal from fat) or HF (60 % kcal from fat) diet for 18 weeks. After 8 weeks, mice from HF group were randomized to HF diet or HF diet supplemented with 8 % cocoa powder (HF–HFC group) for 10 weeks. Blood and tissue samples were collected for biochemical analyses.

Results

Cocoa powder supplementation significantly reduced the rate of body weight gain (15.8 %) and increased fecal lipid content (55.2 %) compared to HF-fed control mice. Further, cocoa supplementation attenuated insulin resistance, as indicated by improved HOMA-IR, and reduced the severity of obesity-related fatty liver disease (decreased plasma alanine aminotransferase and liver triglyceride) compared to HF group. Cocoa supplementation also significantly decreased plasma levels of the pro-inflammatory mediators interleukin-6 (IL-6, 30.4 %), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1, 25.2 %), and increased adiponectin (33.7 %) compared to HF-fed mice. Expression of pro-inflammatory genes (Il6, Il12b, Nos2, and Emr1) in the stromal vascular fraction (SVF) of the epididymal white adipose tissue (WAT) was significantly reduced (37–56 %) in the cocoa-supplemented mice.

Conclusions

Dietary supplementation with cocoa ameliorates obesity-related inflammation, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease in HF-fed obese mice, principally through the down-regulation of pro-inflammatory gene expression in WAT. These effects appear to be mediated in part by a modulation of dietary fat absorption and inhibition of macrophage infiltration in WAT.

Keywords

Theobroma cacaoCocoaPolyphenolsInflammationObesity

Abbreviations

ALT

Alanine aminotransferase

ATM

Adipose tissue-associated macrophage

DP

Degree of polymerization

HF

High fat

HFC

High-fat diet supplemented with 8 % cocoa powder

HOMA-IR

Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance

IL

Interleukin

iNOS

Inducible nitric oxide synthase

LF

Low fat

MCP-1

Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1

NO

Nitric oxide

ORFLD

Obesity-related fatty liver disease

PAC

Proanthocyanidin

SVF

Stromal vascular fraction

TNF-α

Tumor necrosis factor-α

WAT

White adipose tissue

Supplementary material

394_2013_510_MOESM1_ESM.tif (92 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 92 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013