Bixin activates PPARα and improves obesity-induced abnormalities of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in mice.
J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Dec 5 ;60(48):11952-8. Epub 2012 Nov 21. PMID: 23145898
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptorα (PPARα) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that regulates the expression of the genes involved in fatty acid oxidation. PPARα activators induce fatty acid oxidation in the liver, thereby improving lipid and carbohydrate metabolism in obese mice. In this study, the dietary cis-carotenoids bixin and norbixin, which are commonly used in the food coloring industry, were found to activate PPARα by luciferase reporter assays using GAL4/PPARα chimeric and full-length PPARα systems. Treatment with bixin and norbixin induced the mRNA expression of PPARα target genes involved in fatty acid oxidation in PPARα-expressing HepG2 hepatocytes. In obese KK-Ay mice, bixin treatment suppressed the development of hyperlipidemia and hepatic lipid accumulation. In the livers of bixin-treated mice, the mRNA levels of PPARα target genes related to fatty acid oxidation were up-regulated. Moreover, bixin treatment also improved obesity-induced dysfunctions of carbohydrate metabolism, such as hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hypoadiponectinemia. Glucose tolerance test and insulin tolerance test revealed that glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in KK-Ay obese mice were attenuatedby the treatment with bixin. These results indicate that bixin acts as a food-derived agonist of PPARα, and bixin treatment is useful for the management of obesity-induced metabolic dysfunctions in mice.