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Endocrinology. 2014 May;155(5):1679-89. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1839. Epub 2014 Feb 11.

Nicotine improves obesity and hepatic steatosis and ER stress in diet-induced obese male rats.

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Department of Physiology (P.S.-C., P.B.M.d.M., C.D., R.N., M.L.), NeuObesity Group, Centro singular de investigación en medicina molecular y enfermedades crónicas (CIMUS), University of Santiago de Compostela-Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria, Santiago de Compostela 15782, Spain; Centro de investigación biomédica en red Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (P.S.-C., P.B.M.d.M., C.D., R.N., M.L.), Santiago de Compostela 15706, Spain; and Department of Clinical Science (J.F.), University of Bergen, N-5020 Bergen, Norway.


Nicotine, the main addictive component of tobacco, promotes body weight reduction in humans and rodents. Recent evidence has suggested that nicotine acts in the central nervous system to modulate energy balance. Specifically, nicotine modulates hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase to decrease feeding and to increase brown adipose tissue thermogenesis through the sympathetic nervous system, leading to weight loss. Of note, most of this evidence has been obtained in animal models fed with normal diet or low-fat diet (LFD). However, its effectiveness in obese models remains elusive. Because obesity causes resistance towards many factors involved in energy homeostasis, the aim of this study has been to compare the effect of nicotine in a diet-induced obese (DIO) model, namely rats fed a high-fat diet, with rats fed a LFD. Our data show that chronic peripheral nicotine treatment reduced body weight by decreasing food intake and increasing brown adipose tissue thermogenesis in both LFD and DIO rats. This overall negative energy balance was associated to decreased activation of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase in both models. Furthermore, nicotine improved serum lipid profile, decreased insulin serum levels, as well as reduced steatosis, inflammation, and endoplasmic reticulum stress in the liver of DIO rats but not in LFD rats. Overall, this evidence suggests that nicotine diminishes body weight and improves metabolic disorders linked to DIO and might offer a clear-cut strategy to develop new therapeutic approaches against obesity and its metabolic complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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