Vitamin D and adipogenesis: new molecular insights

Nutr Rev. 2008 Jan;66(1):40-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.00004.x.


The focus of the current review is to highlight some new insights into the molecular mechanism by which vitamin D, a potentially nutritionally modulated factor, influences adipogenesis. Recent studies, predominantly using the mouse 3T3-L1 pre-adipocyte cell culture model, have shown that the role of vitamin D in inhibiting adipogenesis is mediated at the molecular level through a vitamin D receptor (VDR)-dependent inhibition of CCAAT enhancer binding protein-alpha (C/EBP alpha) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR gamma) expression and a decrease in PPAR gamma transactivating activity in the pre-adipocyte. The latter action may reflect a vitamin D-induced decrease in endogenous PPAR gamma ligand availability and a competition between VDR and PPAR gamma for a limiting amount of retinoid X receptor (RXR), a common heterodimeric binding partner of both nuclear receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Adipogenesis / genetics
  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha / genetics
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha / metabolism
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / genetics
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • PPAR gamma / genetics
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics*
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism*
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology
  • Vitamin D / physiology*


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta
  • PPAR gamma
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D