Green tea catechins enhance norepinephrine-induced lipolysis via a protein kinase A-dependent pathway in adipocytes

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015 May 22;461(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.03.158. Epub 2015 Apr 4.


Green tea catechins have been shown to attenuate obesity in animals and humans. The catechins activate adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and thereby increase fatty acid oxidation in liver and skeletal muscles. Green tea catechins have also been shown to reduce body fat in humans. However, the effect of the catechins on lipolysis in adipose tissue has not been fully understood. The aim of this study was to clarify the effect of green tea catechins on lipolysis in adipocytes and to elucidate the underlying mechanism. Differentiated mouse adipocyte cell line (3T3-L1) was stimulated with green tea catechins in the presence or absence of norepinephrine. Glycerol and free fatty acids in the media were measured. Phosphorylation of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) was determined by Western blotting, and the mRNA expression levels of HSL, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), and perilipin were determined by quantitative RT-PCR. The cells were treated with inhibitors of protein kinase A (PKA), protein kinase C (PKC), protein kinase G (PKG), or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) to determine the responsible pathway. Treatment of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with green tea catechins increased the level of glycerol and free fatty acids released into the media in the presence, but not absence, of norepinephrine, and increased the level of phosphorylated HSL in the cells. The catechins also increased mRNA and protein levels of HSL and ATGL. PKA inhibitor (H89) attenuated the catechin-induced increase in glycerol release and HSL phosphorylation. The results demonstrate that green tea catechins enhance lipolysis in the presence of norepinephrine via a PKA-dependent pathway in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, providing a potential mechanism by which green tea catechins could reduce body fat.

Keywords: Green tea catechins; Hormone-sensitive lipase; Lipolysis; Norepinephrine; Protein kinase A.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Camellia sinensis / chemistry*
  • Catechin / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Lipolysis / drug effects
  • Lipolysis / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Sterol Esterase / metabolism*


  • Catechin
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Sterol Esterase
  • Norepinephrine