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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2007 Sep;27(9):1918-25. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Increased adiponectin secretion by highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid in rodent models of obesity and human obese subjects.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Medicine and Metabolism, Medical Research Institute, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 2-3-10 Kanda-surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0062, Japan.



Fish oil rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) or n-3 PUFAs have been shown to reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease. Here we investigated the effect of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on production of adiponectin, the only established antiatherogenic and antiinflammatory adipocytokine, in rodent models of obesity and human obese subjects.


We demonstrated that EPA increases adiponectin secretion in genetically obese ob/ob mice and high-fat diet-induced obese mice. In the in vitro coculture of adipocytes and macrophages, EPA reversed the coculture-induced decrease in adiponectin secretion at least in part through downregulation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in macrophages. We also showed significant increase in plasma adiponectin concentrations in human obese subjects after a 3-month treatment with EPA (1.8 g daily). Multivariate regression analysis revealed that EPA treatment is the only independent determinant of plasma adiponectin concentrations.


This study demonstrates that EPA increases adiponectin secretion in rodent models of obesity and human obese subjects, possibly through the improvement of the inflammatory changes in obese adipose tissue. Because EPA has reduced the risk of major coronary events in a large-scale, prospective, randomized clinical trial, this study provides important insight into its therapeutic implication in obesity-related metabolic sequelae.

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