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Int J Obes (Lond). 2013 May;37(5):699-703. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2012.116. Epub 2012 Jul 17.

CB(1) blockade-induced weight loss over 48 weeks decreases liver fat in proportion to weight loss in humans.

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  • 1Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research, Helsinki, Finland.



Studies in mice have suggested that endocannabinoid blockade using the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) blocker rimonabant prevents obesity-induced hepatic steatosis.


To determine effects of rimonabant on liver fat in humans, we measured liver fat content by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in 37 subjects who used either a CB1 blocker rimonabant or placebo in a double-blind, randomized manner. This was retrospectively compared with a historical hypocaloric diet weight loss group (n=23).


Weight loss averaged 8.5±1.4 kg in the rimonabant, 1.7±1.0 kg in the placebo and 7.5±0.2 kg in the hypocaloric diet group (P<0.001, rimonabant vs placebo; NS, rimonabant vs hypocaloric diet). Liver fat decreased more in the rimonabant (5.9% (2.5-14.6%) vs 1.8% (0.9-3.5%), before vs after) than in the placebo group (6.8% (2.2-15.7%) vs 4.9% (1.6-7.8%), before vs after, P<0.05). The percentage change in body weight correlated closely with the percentage loss of liver fat (r=0.70, P>0.0001). The decreases in liver fat were comparable between the rimonabant and the young historical hypocaloric diet groups.


We conclude that, unlike in mice, in humans rimonabant decreases liver fat in proportion to weight loss.

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