The anti-obesity effect of quercetin is mediated by the AMPK and MAPK signaling pathways

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Sep 5;373(4):545-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.06.077. Epub 2008 Jun 27.


Quercetin is the most abundant flavonoid and is assumed to have protective roles against the pathogenesis of multiple diseases associated with oxidative stress. In the present study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms by which quercetin affects adipogenesis and apoptosis in 3T3-L1 cells. The exposure of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes to quercetin resulted in attenuated adipogenesis and decreased expression of adipogenesis-related factors and enzymes. Moreover, quercetin exposure up-regulated the levels of phosphorylated adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its substrate, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). Treatment of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with quercetin resulted in the induction of apoptosis and a concomitant decrease in ERK and JNK phosphorylation. Taken together, these data indicate that quercetin exerts anti-adipogenesis activity by activating the AMPK signal pathway in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes, while the quercetin-induced apoptosis of mature adipocytes was mediated by modulation of the ERK and JNK pathways, which play pivotal roles during apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipocytes / enzymology
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Quercetin / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Quercetin
  • Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase