Chitosan oligosaccharides inhibit adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Jan;18(1):80-7.


The 3T3-L1 cell line is a well-established and commonly used in vitro model to assess adipocyte differentiation. Over the course of several days, confluent 3T3-L1 cells can be converted to adipocytes in the presence of an adipogenic cocktail. In this study, the effects of chitosan oligosaccharides (CO) on adipocyte differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells were studied. The CO significantly decreased lipid accumulation, a marker of adipogenesis, in a dose-dependent manner. The low molecular mass CO (1-3 kDa) were the most effective at inhibiting adipocyte differentiation. Moreover, mRNA expression levels of both CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) alpha and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma, the key adipogenic transcription factors, were markedly decreased by CO treatments. CO also significantly downregulated adipogenic marker proteins such as leptin, adiponectin, and resistin. Our results suggest a role for CO as anti-obesity agents by inhibiting adipocyte differentiation mediated through the downregulated expression of adipogenic transcription factors and other specific genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Adipogenesis / physiology
  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chitosan / pharmacology*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Mice
  • Oligosaccharides / pharmacology*
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha
  • Oligosaccharides
  • PPAR gamma
  • Chitosan