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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 9713259, 11 pages
Research Article

Pycnogenol® Induces Browning of White Adipose Tissue through the PKA Signaling Pathway in Apolipoprotein E-Deficient Mice

1Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, The First Hospital of China Medical University, No. 155 Nanjing North Street, Shenyang 110001, China
2The Endocrine Institute and the Liaoning Provincial Key Laboratory of Endocrine Diseases, The First Hospital of China Medical University, No. 155 Nanjing North Street, Shenyang 110001, China
3Department of Clinical Investigation, Department of Diabetes, Endocrine and Rheumatic Diseases, Oita San-ai Medical Center, 1213 Ichi, Oita 870-1151, Japan
4Department of Neurology, Shengjing Hospital, China Medical University, No. 39 Huaxiang Road, Shenyang 110022, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Bin Fan and Jianqiu Gu

Received 27 June 2017; Revised 2 October 2017; Accepted 26 October 2017; Published 17 January 2018

Academic Editor: Hiroshi Okamoto

Copyright © 2018 Huiying Cong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Beige adipocytes in white adipose tissue (WAT) have received considerable recognition because of their potential protective effect against obesity. Pycnogenol (PYC), extracted from French maritime pine bark, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can improve lipid profiles. However, the effect of PYC on obesity has never been explored. In this study, we investigated the effects of PYC on obesity and WAT browning in apolipoprotein E- (ApoE-) deficient mice. The results showed that PYC treatment clearly reversed body weight and the mass of eWAT gain resulting from a high-cholesterol and high-fat diet (HCD), but no difference in food intake. The morphology results showed that the size of the adipocytes in the PYC-treated mice was obviously smaller than that in the HCD-fed mice. Next, we found that PYC upregulated the expression of genes related to lipolysis (ATGL and HSL), while it decreased the mRNA level of PLIN1. PYC significantly increased the expression of UCP1 and other genes related to beige adipogenesis. Additionally, PYC increased the expression of proteins related to the protein kinase A (PKA) signaling pathway. The findings suggested that PYC decreased obesity by promoting lipolysis and WAT browning. Thus, PYC may be a novel therapeutic target for obesity.