The effects of the combined treatment of ultrasound, with topically and orally-delivered cayenne pepper on the weight, total cholesterol levels and liver histology of obese ICR male mice

Date of Publication


Document Type

Bachelor's Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Premed Physics


College of Science



Thesis Adviser

Mara Carla Manzano
Rodel Jonathan Vitor

Defense Panel Member

Elis Maghirang
Romeric F. Pobre
Emmanuel T. Rodulfo


Despite the amount of work by the pharmaceutical industry in manufacturing drugs for obesity treatment, the available drugs currently on the market for the long-term management of obesity are still scarce, being available only in the USA and Europe. Drugs formulated for anti-obesity treatment, such as liposuction, are also considered to be riddled with side effects since most of them are invasive procedures. Thus, the number of hurdles to be overcome in developing anti-obesity drugs have risen significantly, especially those involving safety, efficacy, and economical feasibility. Looking into potential anti-obesity agents from natural resources may lead to the discovery of safer alternatives to the chemically-manufactured anti-obesity drugs. Capsicum fruits contain capsaicin, which is a naturally occurring chemical, known to provide the capsicum fruits' characteristic pungent, spicy sensation. Capsaicin is a highly volatile' pungent, hydrophobic, colorless and odorless white crystalline powder. Capsicum fruits themselves have recently been investigated for their weight loss inducing properties, brought by their active component, capsaicin. Cayenne peppers, being a member of the capsicum family has also been investigated in a number of studies because of its body fat reducing potential delivered by increased whole-body expenditure. As it can be easily grown and shipped globally, it also shows potential as an anti-obesity drug or regimen. In addition to this, low-intensity therapeutic ultrasound was investigated by various researchers, and shown to be able to decrease fat layer thickness. Although there is still a need for further investigation to establish the fat-reducing mechanism of ultrasound, researchers believe that ultrasound, being non-invasive and non-ionizing, is a promising tool in anti-obesity treatment. The goal of the study was to examine the effects of the oral and topical administration of cayenne pepper, a natural capsaicin source, on the weight and cholesterol levels of obese ICR mice. With an idea of the beneficial effects of cayenne pepper's active agent, capsaicin, the researchers aimed to investigate whether cayenne would be able to yield similar beneficial effects as the administration of pure capsaicin on obesity, which have already been established in numerous studies that tackled the anti-obesity characteristics of capsaicin. The study also aimed to look into the effects of 1 MHz therapeutic ultrasound treatment when combined with both the oral and topical administration of cayenne pepper, and establish whether or not the tested anti-obesity regimen significantly decrease the high cholesterol levels and weights of obese ICR male mice. The researchers submitted their methodology to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and had six groups of mice undergo a different treatment, with one as a positive and one as a negative control. The weight of each mouse was taken every week of the treatment, while blood cholesterol was taken only during the first and last weeks of the treatment. Afterwards, liver specimens were taken from each mouse for further examination of effects. Results indicated that, although statistically insignificant, the topical-only treatment induced the highest decrease in weight, while the topical and ultrasound paired treatment actually showed an increase in weight after 3 weeks of treatment. In terms of the cholesterol, the topical-only treatment showed the highest increase in cholesterol levels, while the topical and ultrasound paired treatment showed the lowest increase in cholesterol levels. Lastly, only mild and very mild fatty changes were observed in the liver epithelium of the mice. Moreover, some mice did not exhibit such changes and were put down as having no remarkable changes. The minimal changes in the fatty composition of the liver epithelium despite the high-fat diet were observed to be because of the capsaicin content of the cayenne pepper application.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F, Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

1 volume (various foliations), illustrations (some color), 28 cm.


Peppers--Analysis; Weight loss; Reducing diets

Embargo Period


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