Sesamol Increases Ucp1 Expression in White Adipose Tissues and Stimulates Energy Expenditure in High-Fat Diet-Fed Obese Mice.
Nutrients. 2020 May 18 ;12(5). Epub 2020 May 18. PMID: 32443555
Dong Ho Lee
Sesamol found in sesame oil has been shown to ameliorate obesity by regulating lipid metabolism. However, its effects on energy expenditure and the underlying molecular mechanism have not been clearly elucidated. In this study, we show that sesamol increased the uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) expression in adipocytes. The administration of sesamol in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice prevented weight gain and improved metabolic derangements. The three-week sesamol treatment of HFD-fed mice, when the body weights were not different between the sesamol and control groups, increased energy expenditure, suggesting that an induced energy expenditure is a primary contributing factor for sesamol's anti-obese effects. Consistently, sesamol induced the expression of energy-dissipating thermogenic genes, including, in white adipose tissues. The microarray analysis showed that sesamol dramatically increased the Nrf2 target genes such as Hmox1 and Atf3 in adipocytes. Moreover, 76% (60/79 genes) of the sesamol-induced genes were also regulated by tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), a known Nrf2 activator. We further verified that sesamol directly activated the Nrf2-mediated transcription. In addition, the Hmox1 and Ucp1 induction by sesamol was compromised in Nrf2-deleted cells, indicating the necessity of Nrf2 in the sesamol-mediated Ucp1 induction. Together, these findings demonstrate the effects of sesamol in inducing Ucp1 and in increasing energy expenditure, further highlighting the use of the Nrf2 activation in stimulating thermogenic adipocytes and in increasing energy expenditure in obesity and its related metabolic diseases.