European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 56, Issue 7, pp 2309–2318 | Cite as

Synergistic effects of caffeine and catechins on lipid metabolism in chronically fed mice via the AMP-activated protein kinase signaling pathway

  • Yan Zhao
  • Licong Yang
  • Zhanwang Huang
  • Lezhen Lin
  • Guodong ZhengEmail author
Original Contribution



To investigate the mechanistic effects of combined exposure to caffeine and catechins on lipid metabolism in mice.


Seventy mice were randomly assigned to seven groups and fed diets containing varying doses of caffeine and catechins for 24 weeks. Body weight gain, intraperitoneal adipose tissue (IPAT) weight, serum biochemical parameters, and enzymatic activities, mRNA and protein expression levels of lipid metabolism-related enzymes in the liver and IPAT were analyzed.


Following administration of caffeine and catechins, body weight gain, IPAT weight, serum and liver concentrations of total cholesterol and triglyceride were markedly reduced. Lipase activities, including that of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), acyl-CoA oxidase, carnitine acyltransferase, adipose triglyceride lipase, and hormone-sensitive lipase, were significantly upregulated; however, fatty acid synthase (FAS) activity in the liver was suppressed. Combined exposure to caffeine and catechins significantly upregulated mRNA and protein expression levels of lipases while downregulating FAS mRNA expression and protein expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ2.


The combination of caffeine and catechins regulated the enzymatic activities, mRNA, and protein expression levels of lipid metabolism-related enzymes, resulting in suppression of body weight gain and IPAT weight in mice, potentially through activation of the AMPK signaling pathway. This study indicates that chronic intake of both caffeine and catechins can synergistically contribute to prevention of obesity and lifestyle-related diseases.


Caffeine Catechins Fat accumulation Lipid metabolism 



AMP-activated protein kinase


Adipose triglyceride lipase


Hormone-sensitive lipase


Acetyl-CoA carboxylase


Intraperitoneal adipose tissue


Total cholesterol




Carnitine acyltransferase


Acyl-CoA oxidase


Fatty acid synthase


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ2

p-HSL (Ser660)

Phosphorylation of hormone-sensitive lipase Ser660


Sterol-responsive element-binding protein-1c


White adipose tissue



This work was kindly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31160320) and the Jiangxi Province Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 20142BAB204003).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethics statement

This study was carried out in strict accordance with the recommendations from the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the Chinese Association for Laboratory Animal Science. All animal care and protocols were approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee of the Jiangxi Agricultural University. All killings were performed under sodium pentobarbital anesthesia, and efforts were taken to minimize animal suffering.

Supplementary material

394_2016_1271_MOESM1_ESM.doc (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 13 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Zhao
    • 1
  • Licong Yang
    • 1
  • Zhanwang Huang
    • 1
  • Lezhen Lin
    • 2
  • Guodong Zheng
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Jiangxi Key Laboratory of Natural Product and Functional Food, College of Food Science and EngineeringJiangxi Agricultural UniversityNanchangChina
  2. 2.Library of Jiangxi Agricultural UniversityNanchangChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Natural Product Research and Development, College of Food Science and EngineeringJiangxi Agricultural UniversityNanchangChina

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