Background: Numerous clinical studies have reported that ingestion of chocolate has reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. In order to elucidate the mechanism, we evaluated the influence of flavan-3-ols derived from cocoa powder on energy metabolism in mice using an indirect calorimetric method. Method. The mice were divided into two groups, and administered either distilled water or 50 mg/kg of flavan-3-ol fraction for 2 weeks. At the end of the experimental period, animals were sacrificed after blood pressure and the mean respiratory exchange ratio (RER) over 24 hours were measured. Results: The mean respiratory exchange ratio (RER) over 24 hours was reduced significantly in the flavan-3-ols group. The mean blood pressure was significantly decreased in flavan-3-ols treatment group compared with control group. The protein level of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (CPT2) was increased significantly by flavan-3-ols in skeletal muscle, but not in liver. Uncoupling protein (UCP) 1 was increased significantly in brown adipose tissue by flavan-3-ols. The mitochondria copy number in gastrocnemius and soleus muscles and brown adipose tissue were increased significantly by administration of flavan-3-ol fraction. Conclusion: These results suggest that flavan-3-ols enhances lipolysis and promotes mitochondrial biogenesis. We conclude that improvement of metabolic syndrome risk factors following ingestion of chocolate may be induced, in part, by the mitochondrial biogenesis-promoting effect of flavan-3-ols.
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