Antiadipogenic effect of dietary apigenin through activation of AMPK in 3T3-L1 cells

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Dec 28;59(24):13346-52. doi: 10.1021/jf203490a. Epub 2011 Nov 30.


Adipocyte differentiation (adipogenesis) is a complex process including the coordinated changes in hormone sensitivity and gene expression in response to various stimuli. Natural compounds are known to be involved in the regulation of this process. Here we investigated the effects of dietary apigenin, a plant flavonoid, on adipogenesis. Apigenin suppressed adipocyte differentiation of mouse adipocytic 3T3-L1 cells and reduced the accumulation of intracellular lipids. Quantitative PCR and Western blot analyses revealed that apigenin decreased the levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ and its target genes such as fatty acid binding protein 4 (aP2) and stearoyl-CoA desaturase. Apigenin decreased or had no effect on the expression of lipolytic genes such as adipose triglyceride lipase, hormone sensitive lipase, and monoacyl glyceride lipase, thereby reducing glycerol release from adipocytes. Noteworthily, apigenin activated 5'-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in an apigenin dose-dependent manner, which activation is known to suppress adipogenesis. These results provide a novel insight into the molecular mechanism involved in the action of apigenin: the apigenin-induced activation of AMPK leads to decreased expression of adipogenic and lipolytic genes, thus suppressing adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells. Thus, dietary apigenin may contribute to lower body-fat content and body-weight gain through the activation of AMPK.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Adipogenesis / genetics
  • Animals
  • Apigenin / administration & dosage*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Diet
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Lipolysis / drug effects
  • Mice


  • Apigenin
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases