Nicotine improves obesity and hepatic steatosis and ER stress in diet-induced obese male rats

Patricia Seoane-Collazo, Pablo Blanco Martinez De Morentin, Johan Ferno, Carlos Dieguez, Ruben Nogueiras, Miguel Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Nicotine, the main addictive component of tobacco, promotes body weight reduction in humans and rodents. Recent evidence has suggested that nicotine acts in the central nervous system to modulate energy balance. Specifically, nicotine modulates hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase to decrease feeding and to increase brown adipose tissue thermogenesis through the sympathetic nervous system, leading to weight loss. Of note, most of this evidence has been obtained in animal models fed with normal diet or low-fat diet (LFD). However, its effectiveness in obese models remains elusive. Because obesity causes resistance towards many factors involved in energy homeostasis, the aim of this study has been to compare the effect of nicotine in a diet-induced obese (DIO) model, namely rats fed a high-fat diet, with rats fed a LFD. Our data show that chronic peripheral nicotine treatment reduced body weight by decreasing food intake and increasing brown adipose tissue thermogenesis in both LFD and DIO rats. This overall negative energy balance was associated to decreased activation of hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase in both models. Furthermore, nicotine improved serum lipid profile, decreased insulin serum levels, as well as reduced steatosis, inflammation, and endoplasmic reticulum stress in the liver of DIO rats but not in LFD rats. Overall, this evidence suggests that nicotine diminishes body weight and improves metabolic disorders linked to DIO and might offer a clear-cut strategy to develop new therapeutic approaches against obesity and its metabolic complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1679-1689
Number of pages11
Issue number5
Early online date11 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown
  • Animals
  • Appetite Depressants
  • Appetite Regulation
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Dyslipidemias
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
  • Fatty Liver
  • Hyperinsulinism
  • Hypothalamus
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Liver
  • Male
  • Nicotine
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Obesity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Thermogenesis
  • Weight Loss


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