Obesity is the principal symptom of metabolic syndrome, which refers to a group of risk factors that increase the likelihood of atherosclerosis. In recent decades there has been a sharp rise in the incidence of obesity throughout the developed world. Iso-α-acids, the bitter compounds derived from hops in beer, have been shown to prevent diet-induced obesity by increasing lipid oxidation in the liver and inhibition of lipid absorption from the intestine. Whereas the sharp bitterness induced by effective dose of iso-α-acids precludes their acceptance as a nutrient, matured hop bittering components (MHB) appear to be more agreeable. Therefore, we tested MHB for an effect on ameliorating diet-induced body fat accumulation in rodents. MHB ingestion had a beneficial effect but, compared to iso-α-acids and despite containing structurally similar compounds, acted via different mechanisms to reduce body fat accumulation. MHB supplementation significantly reduced body weight gain, epididymal white adipose tissue weight, and plasma non-esterified free fatty acid levels in diet-induced obese mice. We also found that uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression in brown adipose tissue (BAT) was significantly increased in MHB-fed mice at both the mRNA and protein levels. In addition, MHB administration in rats induced the β-adrenergic signaling cascade, which is related to cAMP accumulation in BAT, suggesting that MHB could modulate sympathetic nerve activity innervating BAT (BAT-SNA). Indeed, single oral administration of MHB elevated BAT-SNA in rats, and this elevation was dissipated by sub-diaphragmatic vagotomy. Single oral administration of MHB maintained BAT temperature at a significantly higher level than in control rats. Taken together, these findings indicate that MHB ameliorates diet-induced body fat accumulation, at least partly, by enhancing thermogenesis in BAT via BAT-SNA activation. Our data suggests that MHB is a useful tool for developing functional foods or beverages to counteract the accumulation of body fat.
Morimoto-Kobayashi, Y., Ohara, K., Takahashi, C., Kitao, S., Wang, G., Taniguchi, Y., … Nagai, K. (2015). Matured hop bittering components induce thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue via sympathetic nerve activity. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0131042