Melatonin, a pivotal photoperiodic signal transducer, may work as a brown-fat inducer that regulates energy balance. Our study aimed to investigate the effects of melatonin treatment on the body fat accumulation, lipid profiles, and circulating irisin of rats with high-fat diet-induced obesity (DIO). Methods: 30 male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into five groups and treated for 8 weeks: vehicle control (VC), positive control (PC), MEL10 (10 mg melatonin/kg body weight (BW)), MEL20 (20 mg/kg BW), and MEL50 (50 mg/kg BW). The vehicle control group was fed a control diet, and the other groups were fed a high-fat and high-calorie diet for 8 weeks to induce obesity before the melatonin treatment began. Melatonin reduced weight gain without affecting the food intake, reduced the serum total cholesterol level, enhanced the fecal cholesterol excretion, and increased the circulating irisin level. Melatonin downregulated the fibronectin type III domain containing 5 (FNDC5) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL) mRNA expressions of inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT) and induced the browning of iWAT in both the MEL10 and MEL20 groups. Conclusion: Chronic continuous melatonin administration in drinking water reduced weight gain and the serum total cholesterol levels. Additionally, it enhanced the circulating irisin, which promoted brite/beige adipocyte recruitment together with cholesterol excretion and contributed to an anti-obesity effect.
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