The aim of the present study was to determine whether the antiobesity effects of tea catechins (TCs) are associated with the expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a high-fat (HF; 35% fat) diet for 5 weeks, then divided into four groups and fed an HF, HF with 0.5% TC (HFTC), normal-fat (NF; 5% fat) or NF with 0.5% TC (NFTC) diet for 8 weeks. At the end of the experimental period, perirenal and epididymal white adipose tissues (WATs) and interscapular BAT were isolated. The NFTC group had significantly lower perirenal WAT weights than the NF group (NF: 12.7±0.53 g; NFTC: 10.2±0.43 g; P<.01), but the HF and HFTC groups did not differ significantly. TC intake had no effects on epididymal WAT weights. The NFTC and HFTC groups had significantly lower BAT weights than the NF and HF groups, respectively. The NFTC group had significantly higher UCP1 mRNA levels in BAT than the NF group (NF: 0.35±0.02; NFTC: 0.60±0.11; P<.05), but the HF and HFTC groups did not differ significantly. Thus, TC intake in the context of the NF diet reduced perirenal WAT weight and up-regulated UCP1 mRNA expression in BAT. These results suggest that the suppressive effect of TC on body fat accumulation is associated with UCP1 expression in BAT.
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