Food and Behaviour Research

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Dietary Capsaicin and exercise: Analysis of a two-pronged approach to counteract obesity

Krishnan V, Fettel K, Thyagarajan B (2015) Proceedings of the Biophysical Society - 59th Annual Meeting February 2015   

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Obesity contributes to diabetes, hypertension and myocardial infarction. Exercise is an effective measure to counteract obesity. Recent research demonstrates a regulatory role of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) in high fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity.

Here, we evaluated the effects of exercise ± dietary capsaicin (CAP, 0.01% of total HFD), an active ingredient in natural chili peppers and a TRPV1 agonist, on HFD-fed wild type and TRPV1-/- (TRPV1 knockout) mice.

We evaluated the performance of normal chow diet (NCD) or HFD (±CAP)-fed mice on computer-controlled rotarod. Trained mice were exercised for 12 min./day for five days a week.

HFD+CAP-fed mice walked on the rotarod for a longer duration of the exercise regimen (630 ± 69 sec.) and showed lesser weight gain after 25 weeks of feeding (11.5 ± 2.1 g) compared to exercised HFD-fed mice (440 ± 215 sec.; 27.5 ± 2.1 g).

Both sedentary and exercised HFD-fed groups exhibited similar weight gain, albeit an increase in food consumption shown by exercised HFD-fed group.

Also, exercised HFD + CAP-fed mice showed an increased metabolic activity compared to exercised HFD-fed group.

Further, NCD-fed WT mice walked for longer duration on the rotarod (704 ± 14 sec) and gained lesser weight at 20 weeks of feeding (4.5 ± 0.7 g) than NCD-fed TRPV1-/- mice (665 ± 50 sec.; 7.7 ± 2.1 g).

CAP prevented weight gain to a similar extent in both sedentary and exercised wild type mice. Also, Dietary CAP improved the endurance of mice on rotarod and counteracted HFD-induced suppression of muscle coordination.

This suggests a novel role of TRPV1 in metabolism and muscle coordination function. Collectively, our data provide evidence for the role of TRPV1 and its activation by dietary CAP and exercise to inhibit HFD-induced obesity.