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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999 Apr 21;257(3):879-85.

Up-regulation of liver uncoupling protein-2 mRNA by either fish oil feeding or fibrate administration in mice.

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Division of Clinical Nutrition, National Institute of Health and Nutrition, 1-23-1, Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 162-8636, Japan.


Fish oil feeding showed less obesity in rodents, relative to other dietary oils. N-3 fatty acids rich in fish oil and fibrate compounds are peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha) ligands that stimulate beta-oxidation of fatty acids in liver and are used for treatment of hypertriglycemic patients. Since UCP-2, a member of an uncoupling protein family, has been shown to express in hepatocytes, the effects of these agents on the expression of UCP2 mRNA were investigated. C57BL/6J mice were divided into three groups; the first group was given a high-carbohydrate diet, and the other two groups were given a high-fat diet (60% of total energy) as safflower oil or fish oil for 5 months. Safflower oil diet fed mice developed obesity, but those fed fish oil diet did not. Therefore, the effects of fish oil feeding on the expression of UCP1, UCP2 and UCP3 in liver, skeletal muscle (gastrocnemius), white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT) were assessed by Northern blotting. Compared with safflower oil feeding, fish oil feeding up-regulated liver UCP2, BAT UCP2 and skeletal muscle UCP3 mRNA, while down-regulated WAT UCP2 and BAT UCP3 mRNA. Among these alterations, 5-fold up-regulation of liver UCP2 mRNA, relative to carbohydrate feeding, was noteworthy. Fenofibrate administration (about 500 mg/kg BW/d) for 2 wks also induced liver UCP2 expression by 9-fold. These data indicated that fish oil feeding and fibrate administration each up-regulated UCP2 mRNA expression in liver possibly via PPARalpha and hence each has the potential of increasing energy expenditure for prevention of obesity.

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