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Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Feb;75(2):213-20.

Olive oil feeding up-regulates uncoupling protein genes in rat brown adipose tissue and skeletal muscle.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science, the University of País Vasco, Vitoria, Spain.



Some nutrients, such as carotenoids, retinoic acid, and certain types of fatty acids, increase thermogenic capacity.


The influence of 4 dietary lipid sources (olive oil, sunflower oil, palm oil, and beef tallow) on the content of uncoupling proteins 1, 2, and 3 (UCP1, UCP2, and UCP3) and their messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in several tissues of rats was compared.


Wistar rats were randomly divided into 4 groups and fed ad libitum diets containing 40% of energy as fat. UCP1, UCP2, and UCP3 mRNA and protein were assessed by Northern blot and Western blot, respectively. Oxygen consumption in tissues was measured by polarography. Total-body oxygen consumption was assessed in an open-circuit chamber system. Circulating fuels (fatty acids and glucose) and hormones (triiodothyronine, thyroxine, corticosterone, and insulin) were measured.


Olive oil feeding induced the highest UCP1, UCP2, and UCP3 mRNA expression in interscapular brown adipose tissue. An analogous effect was observed in gastrocnemius muscle UCP3 mRNA. No significant differences were observed in perirenal white adipose tissue UCP2 mRNA. Changes in mRNAs were not accompanied by close changes in the protein content of UCPs and were not associated with changes in adipose tissue oxygen consumption. Nevertheless, total-body oxygen consumption was higher in rats fed olive oil than in those fed the other 3 diets. No significant differences were found in body and tissue weights or in serum indexes.


Olive oil induced an up-regulating effect on UCP mRNA that was probably not mediated by systemic metabolic changes, but rather related to a local effect on interscapular brown adipose tissue and skeletal muscle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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