Lipoic acid (LA) is an antioxidant with antiobesity and antidiabetic properties. Adiponectin is an adipokine with potent anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing properties. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key enzyme involved in cellular energy homeostasis. Activation of AMPK has been considered as a target to reverse the metabolic abnormalities associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The aim of this study was to determine the effects of LA on AMPK phosphorylation and adiponectin production in adipose tissue of low-fat (control diet) and high-fat diet-fed rats.
Dietary supplementation with LA reduced body weight and adiposity in control and high-fat-fed rats. LA also reduced basal hyperinsulinemia as well as the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) levels, an index of insulin resistance, in high-fat-fed rats, which was in part independent of their food intake lowering actions. Furthermore, AMPK phosphorylation was increased in white adipose tissue (WAT) from LA-treated rats as compared with pair-fed animals. Dietary supplementation with LA also upregulated adiponectin gene expression in WAT, while a negative correlation between adiposity-corrected adiponectin levels and HOMA index was found. Our present data suggest that the ability of LA supplementation to prevent insulin resistance in high-fat diet-fed rats might be related in part to the stimulation of AMPK and adiponectin in WAT.