Chili Pepper Ingredient Fights Fat

Chili Pepper Ingredient Fights Fat

Proteomic Analysis for Anti-obesity Potential of Capsaicin on White Adipose Tissue in Rats Fed with a High Fat Diet

Capsaicin, the stuff that gives chili peppers their kick, may cause weight loss and fight fat buildup by triggering certain beneficial protein changes in the body, according to a new study on the topic. The report, which could lead to new treatments for obesity, appears in ACS’ monthly Journal of Proteome Research.

Jong Won Yun and colleagues point out that obesity is a major public health threat worldwide, linked to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems. Laboratory studies have hinted that capsaicin may help fight obesity by decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue, and lowering fat levels in the blood.

Nobody, however, knows exactly how capsaicin might trigger such beneficial effects.

In an effort to find out, the scientists fed high-fat diets with or without capsaicin to lab rats used to study obesity. The capsaicin-treated rats lost 8 percent of their body weight and showed changes in levels of at least 20 key proteins found in fat. The altered proteins work to break down fats. “These changes provide valuable new molecular insights into the mechanism of the anti-obesity effects of capsaicin,” the scientists say.


“Proteomic Analysis for Anti-obesity Potential of Capsaicin on White Adipose Tissue in Rats Fed with a High Fat Diet”



Jong Won Yun, Ph.D.

Department of Biotechnology

Daegu University

Kyungsan, Kyungbuk


Phone: 82-53-850-6556

Fax: 82-53-850-6559

It is well recognized that capsaicin increases thermogenesis through the enhancement of catecholamine secretion from the adrenal medulla. In the present study of the antiobesity effect of capsaicin, rats (5-week old) received capsaicin (10 mg/kg) along with a high-fat diet (HFD). In comparison with saline-treated rats, the bodyweight of those in the capsaicin-treated group decreased by 8%. We performed differential proteomic analysis using two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) combined with MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to elucidate the molecular action of capsaicin on the antiobesity effect in epididymal white adipose tissue (WAT). Protein mapping of WAT homogenates using 2-DE revealed significant alterations to a number of proteins: 10 spots were significantly up-regulated and 10 spots were remarkably down-regulated in HFD fed rats treated with capsaicin. Among them, significant down-regulation of heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) and Steap3 protein, as well as up-regulation of olfactory receptor (Olr1434) in obese WAT was reported for the first time in association with obesity. Most of the identified proteins are associated with lipid metabolism and redox regulation, in which levels of vimentin, peroxiredoxin, and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) were significantly reduced (>2-fold), whereas Aldo-ketoreductase, flavoprotein increased with capsaicin treatment. These data demonstrate that thermogenesis and lipid metabolism-related proteins were markedly altered upon capsaicin treatment in WAT, suggesting that capsaicin may be a useful phytochemical for attenuation of obesity.

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