This study aimed to examine the anti-proliferative effects of α-, γ- and δ-tocotrienols (αT3, γT3 and δT3), and α-tocopherol on 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Results showed that compared with other vitamin E analogues, γT3 demonstrated the most potent anti-proliferative effect on 3T3-L1 cells. It significantly caused a reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) and an increase in ROS formation, as well as inducing cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at S phase. Further studies showed that it down-regulated Bcl-2 and PPAR-γ expression, suppressed Akt and ERK activation and phosphorylation, and caused cytochrome c release from mitochondria to cytosol, whereas it up-regulated CD95 (APO-1/CD95) and Bax expression, and caused caspase-3 and JNK activation, PARP cleavage and AMPK phosphorylation. Pretreatments with caspase-3 (z-DEVD-fmk) and AMPK (CC) inhibitors significantly suppressed the γT3-induced ROS production and cell death. Caspase-3 inhibitor also efficiently blocked CD95 (APO-1/CD95) and Bax expression, caspase-3 activation and PARP cleavage, whereas antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine, AMPK inhibitor and AMPK siRNA effectively blocked the AMPK phosphorylation. Taken together, these results conclude that the potent anti-proliferative and anti-adipogenic effects of γT3 on 3T3-L1 adipocytes could be through the Bax-mediated mitochondrial and AMPK signaling pathways.
Keywords: 3T3-L1 adipocytes; AMPK; Adipogenesis; Apoptosis; Tocotrienols.
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