European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 149–158 | Cite as

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

Original Contribution

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 cacao Cocoa Polyphenols Inflammation Obesity 

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)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center of Excellence for Plant and Mushroom Foods and Health, Department of Food ScienceThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Intercollege Graduate Program in PhysiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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