Raspberry ketone, a naturally occurring phenolic compound, inhibits adipogenic and lipogenic gene expression in 3T3-L1 adipocytes

Pharm Biol. 2015 Jun;53(6):870-5. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2014.946059. Epub 2014 Nov 28.


Context: Raspberry ketone (RK) is a natural phenolic compound of red raspberry. The dietary intake of RK has been reported to exert anti-obese actions and alter the lipid metabolism in vivo and human studies.

Objective: To elucidate a possible mechanism for anti-obese actions of RK, the effects of RK on the adipogenic and lipogenic gene expression in 3T3-L1 adipocytes were investigated.

Materials and methods: 3T3-L1 maturing pre-adipocytes were treated from day 2 to day 8 of differentiation and mature adipocytes for 24 h on day 12 with 1, 10, 20, and 50 μM of RK. Triacylglycerols were assessed by spectrophotometry and gene expression by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR).

Results: Treatment of adipocytes with RK suppressed adipocyte differentiation and fat accumulation in a concentration-dependent manner. RK suppressed the expression of major genes involved in the adipogenesis pathway including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) and CCAAT enhancer binding protein-α (C/EBPα), which led to further down-regulation of adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein-2 (aP2). In addition, treatment with 10 μM of RK also reduced mRNA levels of lipogenic genes such as acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1 (ACC1), fatty acid synthase (FASN), and stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1). In mature adipocytes, RK increased the transcriptional activities of genes involved in lipolysis and the oxidative pathways including adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), and carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1B (CPT1B).

Discussion and conclusion: These findings suggest that RK holds great promise for an herbal medicine with the biological activities altering the lipid metabolism in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

Keywords: Adipogenesis; herbal medicine; lipid metabolism; lipogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Butanones / pharmacology*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Phenols / pharmacology*


  • Butanones
  • Phenols
  • raspberry ketone