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Myricetin-induced brown adipose tissue activation prevents obesity and insulin resistance in db/db mice

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Myricetin, a dietary flavonoid, is effective in the treatment of obesity and insulin resistance by increasing glucose transport and lipogenesis in adipocyte and diminishing systemic inflammation in obesity. However, it has not been revealed yet whether myricetin is associated with brown adipose tissue (BAT) activation that tightly mediates systemic energy metabolism. Therefore, this study assessed whether myricetin activated brown adipose tissue in db/db mouse.


Myricetin (400 mg/kg) in distilled water was fed daily by oral gavage to leptin receptor-deficient db/db male mice at 4 weeks of age for 14 weeks. Body weight change, glucose intolerance test, blood lipid profile and BAT activation using PET-CT were assessed.


After myricetin treatment for 14 weeks, systemic insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis were significantly improved in db/db mice with body weight reduction and myricetin led to decreased adipocity, improved plasma lipid profiles and increased energy expenditure. Myricetin activated BAT by upregulating thermogenic protein expression and activating mitochondrial biogenesis, eventually increasing heat dissipation in skin after cold exposure. In iWAT, myricetin induced beige formation, increased thermogenic protein expression and activated mitochondrial biogenesis. Consistently, thermogenic gene expression was upregulated when myricetin was introduced in C3H10T1/2 cells during brown adipocytes differentiation. Moreover, the expression level of adiponectin was significantly increased in C3H10T1/2 cells, adipose tissues and plasma after myricetin treatment.


These results highlight that myricetin prevents obesity and systemic insulin resistance by activating BAT and increasing adiponectin expression in BAT.

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Brown adipose tissue


Inguinal white adipose tissue


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-beta


Uncoupling protein-1






Low-density lipoprotein


High-density lipoprotein


ATP synthase, H + transporting, mitochondrial F1 complex, alpha 1


Cytochrome b-c1 complex subunit 2


Succinate dehydrogenase [ubiquinone] iron–sulfur subunit, mitochondrial


NAD-dependent deacetylase sirtuin-1


Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase


Tyrosine hydroxylase


Dopamine and iodothyronine deiodinase types 2


T-box transcription factor TBX1


Transmembrane protein 26


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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. W.J., H.J.L. and H.L. designed the experiments. T.H., X.Y. and G.W performed the experiments and analyzed the data. W.J., H.J.L. and H.L. interpreted the data and wrote or revised the manuscript. All authors have approved the final version of the manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work. All persons designated as authors qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify for authorship are listed. This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program (XDB13030000), National Program on Key Basic Research Project (973 Program), the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2015CB943102, 2012CBA01301 and 2012CB944701, respectively) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81370951 and 81600658).

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Correspondence to Haoshu Luo, Hyuek Jong Lee or Wanzhu Jin.

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Hu, T., Yuan, X., Wei, G. et al. Myricetin-induced brown adipose tissue activation prevents obesity and insulin resistance in db/db mice. Eur J Nutr 57, 391–403 (2018).

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