Background: Obesity alters endocrine and metabolic function of the adipose tissue leading
to an increased release of fatty acids, adipokynes and pro-inflammatory molecules which in turn
lead to complications related to the onset of metabolic syndrome.
Methods: To this regard, natural antioxidants have been found to have anti-inflammatory and protective
action in cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and obesity. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester
(CAPE) is synthesized in a variety of plants and is one of the main components of propolis. CAPE
inhibits oxidative stress and showed beneficial effects under various experimental conditions.
Aims: The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of CAPE on adipocyte function after an inflammatory
stimulus with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (1 ng/ml for 6h).
Results: Our data showed that LPS caused an increased expression of proinflammatory interleukin
IL-6 and a lipolytic effect on the adipocytes. CAPE treatment inhibited LPS effects through a significant
decrease of IL-6 and a concomitant increase of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor
gamma (PPARγ), CCAAT/Enhancer Binding Protein alpha (CEBPα), fatty acid synthase (FAS),
fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) and transcription
factor sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c). Moreover, the increased levels of
adiponectin, heme oxygenase-1, nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2), peroxisome proliferator-
activated receptor alpha (PPARα) and Sirtuin-1 suggest that CAPE administration restores
adipocyte function following inflammation.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the use of this metabolite such as a food supplement may represent a
possible strategy for the treatment of conditions related to metabolic syndrome.