Coumestrol is a dietary phytoestrogen with estrogen-mimicking characteristics. This study investigated the molecular mechanisms of antiobesity effects of coumestrol. Two weeks of coumestrol treatment reduced body weight and improved glucose tolerance of high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice. Notably, coumestrol treatment reduced adiposity but expanded brown adipose tissue mass. In addition, coumestrol treatment induced up-regulation of brown adipocyte markers and lipolytic gene expression in adipose tissue. Mechanistically, coumestrol induced an increase in mitochondrial contents of brown adipose tissue, which was associated with up-regulation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase and sirtuin 1. In vitro knockdown of estrogen receptor 1 inhibited the effect of coumestrol on brown adipogenic marker expression, increase in mitochondrial contents and oxygen consumption rate in brown adipocytes. Furthermore, lineage tracing of platelet-derived growth factor receptor A-positive (PDGFRA+) adipocyte progenitors confirmed increased levels of de novo brown adipogenesis from PDGFRA+ cells by coumestrol treatment. In conclusion, our results indicate that coumestrol has antiobesity effects through the expansion and activation of brown adipose tissue metabolism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Molecular Biology
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Clinical Biochemistry