Tea catechin suppresses adipocyte differentiation accompanied by down-regulation of PPARgamma2 and C/EBPalpha in 3T3-L1 cells

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2004 Nov;68(11):2353-9. doi: 10.1271/bbb.68.2353.


Obesity is a serious health problem, and its prevention is promoted through life style including diet and exercise. In this study, we investigated the suppressive effects of tea catechin on the differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes to adipocytes. (-)-Catechin 3-gallate (CG), (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), (-)-epicatechin 3-gallate, and (-)-epigallocatechin 3-gallate at 5 muM suppressed intracellular lipid accumulation. The suppressive effects of CG and EGC were stronger than the others, and CG and EGC also suppressed the activity of glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase as a differentiation marker. These catechins inhibited the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma2 and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) alpha, both of which act as key transcription factors at an early stage of differentiation, followed by the expression of glucose transporter (GLUT) 4 at a later stage. In addition, the catechins did not affect the phosphorylation status of the insulin signal pathway. Thus, catechin suppressed adipocyte differentiation accompanied by the down-regulation of PPARgamma2, C/EBPalpha, and GLUT4. These results suggest that tea catechin prevents obesity through the suppression of adipocyte differentiation.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Azo Compounds
  • Blotting, Western
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha / biosynthesis*
  • Catechin / pharmacology*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Insulin / physiology
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Mice
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis
  • PPAR gamma / biosynthesis*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tea / chemistry*
  • Transcription Factors


  • Azo Compounds
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Insulin
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • PPAR gamma
  • Slc2a4 protein, mouse
  • Tea
  • Transcription Factors
  • sudan red
  • Catechin
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases