Rhodiola-induced inhibition of adipogenesis involves antioxidant enzyme response associated with pentose phosphate pathway

Phytother Res. 2011 Jan;25(1):106-15. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3236.


The aim of this study was to investigate whether Rhodiola crenulata extract and tyrosol, a major bioactive phenolic compound present in Rhodiola, change the activities of endogenous antioxidant enzyme response (AER) and energy pathways linked to proline-mediated pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) during adipogenesis. Treatment with Rhodiola extracts inhibited the activities of proline dehydrogenase (PDH) and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) as well as lipid accumulation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. The inhibition of PDH and G6PDH activities by Rhodiola likely prevented proline oxidation required for critical ATP generation that is coupled to AER via the PPP, leading to inhibition of adipogenesis. Rhodiola extracts dose-dependently increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, resulting in a reduced ROS level during adipogenesis. Moreover, the effects of tyrosol, a major bioactive compound in Rhodiola species, were directly correlated with all observed effects by Rhodiola extracts. These results indicate that the antiadipogenic effects of Rhodiola extracts can be attributed to a phenolic tyrosol that may potentially disrupt proline-mediated energy generation and AER via PPP, resulting in the suppression of adipogenesis and lipid accumulation. This further provides a biochemical rationale to identify the roles of phenolics that modulate the cellular redox environment and therefore have relevance for obesity management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Mice
  • Pentose Phosphate Pathway*
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / analogs & derivatives
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol / pharmacology
  • Proline Oxidase / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Rhodiola / chemistry*
  • Succinate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • 4-hydroxyphenylethanol
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Succinate Dehydrogenase
  • Proline Oxidase
  • Phenylethyl Alcohol