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Low-dose diet supplement of a natural flavonoid, luteolin, ameliorates diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in mice




Mast cells play important roles in diet-induced obesity and diabetes, and some synthetic mast cell stabilizers can improve related metabolic disturbances in mice. Luteolin (LU) is a potent natural mast cell stabilizer. However, a direct correlation between LU and these common metabolic diseases is not established.

Methods and results

Male C57BL/6 mice were fed low-fat diet, high-fat diet (HFD), HFD with 0.002 and 0.01% LU for 12 wk, respectively. Dietary LU suppressed HFD-induced body weight gain, fat deposition, and adipocyte hypertrophy. Meanwhile, glucose intolerance and insulin sensitivity was also improved. Interestingly, dietary LU ameliorated angiogenesis and associated cell apoptosis and cathepsin activity in epididymis adipose tissues, which is a critical mechanism that mast cells are involved in diet-induced obesity and diabetes. Further, we showed dietary LU reduced mast cell and macrophage infiltrations and inflammatory cytokine levels in epididymis adipose tissues. Finally, LU inhibited mast cell-derived IL-6 expression, which is a key cytokine that contributes to mast cell-associated metabolic derangements, and protein kinase C activator phorbol myristoyl acetate reversed the inhibitory effects.


As a natural flavonoid, low-dose diet supplement of LU ameliorates diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in mice, suggesting a new therapeutic and interventional approach for these diseases.