Effects of delta-tocotrienol on obesity-related adipocyte hypertrophy, inflammation and hepatic steatosis in high-fat-fed mice

London Allen, Latha Ramalingam, Kalhara Menikdiwela, Shane Scoggin, Chwan Li Shen, Michael D. Tomison, Gurvinder Kaur, Jannette M. Dufour, Eunhee Chung, Nishan S. Kalupahana, Naima Moustaid-Moussa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Inflammation is a major underlying cause for obesity-associated metabolic diseases. Hence, anti-inflammatory dietary components may improve obesity-related disorders. We hypothesized that delta-tocotrienol (δT3), a member of the vitamin E family, reduces adiposity, insulin resistance and hepatic triglycerides through its anti-inflammatory properties. To test this hypothesis, C57BL/6J male mice were fed a high-fat diet (HF) with or without supplementation of δT3 (HF+δT3) at 400 mg/kg and 1600 mg/kg for 14 weeks, and they were compared to mice fed a low-fat diet (LF) or HF supplemented with metformin as an antidiabetic control. Glucose tolerance tests were administered 2 weeks prior to the end of treatments. Histology, quantitative polymerase chain reaction and protein analyses were performed to assess inflammation and fatty acid metabolism in adipose and liver tissues. Significant improvements in glucose tolerance, and reduced hepatic steatosis and serum triglycerides were observed in δT3-supplemented groups compared to the HF group. Body and fat pad weights were not significantly reduced in HF+δT3 groups; however, we observed smaller fat cell size and reduced macrophage infiltration in their adipose tissues compared to other groups. These changes were at least in part mechanistically explained by a reduction of mRNA and protein expression of proinflammatory adipokines and increased expression of anti-inflammatory adipokines in HF+δT3 mice. Moreover, δT3 dose-dependently increased markers of fatty acid oxidation and reduced markers of fatty acid synthesis in adipose tissue and liver. In conclusion, our studies suggest that δT3 may promote metabolically healthy obesity by reducing fat cell hypertrophy and decreasing inflammation in both liver and adipose tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-137
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose tissue
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • delta-Tocotrienol
  • Liver
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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