Effects of Two Different Rhodiola rosea Extracts on Primary Human Visceral Adipocytes

Molecules. 2015 May 11;20(5):8409-28. doi: 10.3390/molecules20058409.


Rhodiola rosea (Rro) has been reported to have various pharmacological properties, including anti-fatigue, anti-stress and anti-inflammatory activity. It is also known to improve glucose and lipid metabolism, but the effects of Rhodiola rosea on adipocyte differentiation and metabolism are not still elucidated. In this study the anti-adipogenic and lipolytic activity of two extracts of Rhodiola rosea, containing 3% salidroside (RS) or 1% salidroside and 3% rosavines (RR) on primary human visceral adipocytes was investigated. Pre-adipocytes were analyzed after 10 and 20 days of treatment during differentiation and after 7 days of treatment when they reached mature shape. The RS extract significantly induced higher apoptosis and lipolysis in comparison to control cells and to RR extract. In contrast, RR extract significantly reduced triglyceride incorporation during maturation. Differentiation of pre-adipocytes in the presence of RS and RR extracts showed a significant decrease in expression of genes involved in adipocyte function such as SLC2A4 and the adipogenic factor FGF2 and significant increase in expression of genes involved in inhibition of adipogenesis, such as GATA3, WNT3A, WNT10B. Furthermore RR extract, in contrast to RS, significantly down-regulates PPARG, the master regulator of adipogenesis and FABP4. These data support the lipolytic and anti-adipogenetic activity of two different commercial extracts of Rhodiola rosea in primary human visceral pre-adipocytes during differentiation.

Keywords: Rhodiola rosea; differentiation; gene expression; human visceral adipocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Disaccharides / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / metabolism
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / metabolism
  • Glucosides / pharmacology
  • Glycerol / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / cytology
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Lipolysis / drug effects*
  • PPAR gamma / biosynthesis
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Rhodiola / metabolism*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism
  • Wnt3A Protein / metabolism


  • Disaccharides
  • FABP4 protein, human
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor
  • GATA3 protein, human
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Glucosides
  • PPAR gamma
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • SLC2A4 protein, human
  • WNT10B protein, human
  • WNT3A protein, human
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt3A Protein
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • rosavin
  • rhodioloside
  • Glycerol