Sulforaphane attenuates obesity by inhibiting adipogenesis and activating the AMPK pathway in obese mice

J Nutr Biochem. 2014 Feb;25(2):201-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.10.007. Epub 2013 Nov 14.


Obesity is associated with metabolic disorders. Sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate, inhibits adipogenesis and the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. In this study, we investigated whether sulforaphane could prevent high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity in C57BL/6N mice. Mice were fed a normal diet (ND), HFD or HFD plus 0.1% sulforaphane (SFN) for 6 weeks. Food efficiency ratios and body weight were lower in HFD-SFN-fed mice than in HFD-fed mice. SFN attenuated HFD-induced visceral adiposity, adipocyte hypertrophy and fat accumulation in the liver. Serum total cholesterol and leptin, and liver triglyceride levels were lower in HFD-SFN-fed mice than in HFD-fed mice. SFN decreased the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein α (C/EBPα) and leptin in the adipose tissue of HFD-SFN mice and increased adiponectin expression. Phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase in the adipose tissue of HFD-SFN-fed mice was elevated, and HMG-CoA reductase expression was decreased compared with HFD-fed mice. Thus, these results suggest that SFN may induce antiobesity activity by inhibiting adipogenesis through down-regulation of PPARγ and C/EBPα and by suppressing lipogenesis through activation of the AMPK pathway.

Keywords: AMPK; Adipogenesis; Leptin; Lipogenesis; Obesity; Sulforaphane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Kinase / metabolism*
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology
  • Isothiocyanates / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / enzymology
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Sulfoxides


  • Isothiocyanates
  • Sulfoxides
  • Cholesterol
  • Adenylate Kinase
  • sulforaphane