The effect of the oral administration of 4βHWE (10 or 30 mg kg−1 body weight per day) for 2 weeks on the inflammatory responses in the epididymal adipose tissue of db/db mice. Representative examples of tissue sections in which the macrophages were stained with an anti-F4/80 antibody and the nucleus was counterstained with hematoxylin are shown in panels (a–d). The effect of 4βHWE on the number of F4/80-positive cells (e) and on the mRNA expression of macrophage markers (F4/80 (f) and CD68 (g)) and inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α (h), MCP-1 (i) and IL-6 (j)) in adipose tissue are shown. The scale bar indicates 50 μm in panels a–d, and the arrowhead indicates macrophages. The values are presented as the mean±s.e.m. of 5 and 8 individual determinations in panels e and f–j, respectively. * represents P<0.05 and ** represents P<0.01; the asterisks indicate statistically significant decreases relative to vehicle-treated db/db mice, as identified by a one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni’s test.