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Open AccessArticle

Withania somnifera Extract Enhances Energy Expenditure via Improving Mitochondrial Function in Adipose Tissue and Skeletal Muscle

1
Division of Food Functionality Research, Korea Food Research Institute, Wanju-gun, Jeonbuk 55365, Korea
2
Department of Food Biotechnology, University of Science and Technology, Daejeon 34113, Korea
3
Center for Electron Microscopy Research, Korea Basic Science Institute, Cheongju 28119, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020431
Received: 26 December 2019 / Revised: 29 January 2020 / Accepted: 6 February 2020 / Published: 7 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Effects of Phytochemicals on Health Benefit)
 Withania somnifera (WS), commonly known as ashwagandha, possesses diverse biological functions. WS root has mainly been used as an herbal medicine to treat anxiety and was recently reported to have an anti-obesity effect, however, the mechanisms underlying its action remain to be explored. We hypothesized that WS exerts its anti-obesity effect by enhancing energy expenditure through improving the mitochondrial function of brown/beige adipocytes and skeletal muscle. Male C57BL/6J mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) containing 0.25% or 0.5% WS 70% ethanol extract (WSE) for 10 weeks. WSE (0.5%) supplementation significantly suppressed the increases in body weight and serum lipids, and lipid accumulation in the liver and adipose tissue induced by HFD. WSE supplementation increased oxygen consumption and enhanced mitochondrial activity in brown fat and skeletal muscle in the HFD-fed mice. In addition, it promoted browning of subcutaneous fat by increasing mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression. Withaferin A (WFA), a major compound of WS, enhanced the differentiation of pre-adipocytes into beige adipocytes and oxygen consumption in C2C12 murine myoblasts. These results suggest that WSE ameliorates diet-induced obesity by enhancing energy expenditure via promoting mitochondrial function in adipose tissue and skeletal muscle, and WFA is a key regulator in this function.
Keywords: Withania somnifera ; energy expenditure; mitochondrial activity; browning; withaferin A; anti-obesity Withania somnifera ; energy expenditure; mitochondrial activity; browning; withaferin A; anti-obesity
MDPI and ACS Style

Lee, D.-H.; Ahn, J.; Jang, Y.-J.; Seo, H.-D.; Ha, T.-Y.; Kim, M.J.; Huh, Y.H.; Jung, C.H. Withania somnifera Extract Enhances Energy Expenditure via Improving Mitochondrial Function in Adipose Tissue and Skeletal Muscle. Nutrients 2020, 12, 431.

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