Topical Area: Energy and Macronutrient Metabolism, Obesity
Objectives : Excess adipose tissue (AT) may undergo adipocyte differentiation in response to nutritional stimuli. It is unknown if lycopene may metabolically activate adaptive thermogenesis and disrupt the ensuing dysfunction of an excessive energy burden. The purpose of this study was to assess AT development and metabolic profiles of Sprague-Dawley offspring from mothers fed high fat diets (HFD = 50% fat) supplemented with 1% lycopene during the suckling and post-weaning period.
Methods : Three Sprague-Dawley rats arrived on their 2nd day of gestation, and after three days of acclimation, mothers were randomized to a 25% normal-fat diet (NFD) or HFD. Upon delivery, one of the HFD mothers was transitioned to a HFD supplemented with 1% lycopene. Four pups/litter were euthanized at postnatal day 14 and 25 (P14 and P25, respectively) with body weight (BW) as well as the mass of visceral white AT (WAT) and brown AT (BAT) recorded. Serum samples from the P25 necropsy were analyzed for glucose, lipids, leptin, adiponectin, and inflammatory biomarkers. At P25, the remaining weanling pups (3 pups/litter) were fed the diets of their respective mothers until euthanizing at postnatal week 5 (P35).
Results : The HFD was effective in inducing weight gain as evidenced by increases in BW and WAT in the HFD group not receiving lycopene supplementation compared to pups from the NFD litter across all time points. At P14, WAT was 42.5% lower (p=0.003) in rats reared by mothers consuming lycopene-supplemented HFD compared to the non-supplemented HFD group. At P25, significant decreases in WAT (p=0.004, 25.6% lower) were also observed concomitantly with significant increases in BAT (p=0.025, 40% increase) in rats reared by mothers consuming lycopene-supplemented HFD compared to the HFD group not receiving lycopene. Furthermore, at P25, glucose was 24% lower (p=0.004) in the lycopene-supplemented HFD group. Albeit non-significant, BW and WAT in the lycopene-supplemented HFD group remained lower while BAT remained higher through P35.
Conclusions : Results suggest that lycopene may influence cardiometabolic outcomes such as accrual of AT mass and, subsequent obesity, as well as blood glucose dynamics. Additional research is warranted to determine diet-induced signaling pathways by which lycopene may influence adipocyte differentiation.
Funding Sources : NIH; University of Alabama Pilot Grant