Antiadipogenic effects of subthermal electric stimulation at 448 kHz on differentiating human mesenchymal stem cells

Mol Med Rep. 2016 May;13(5):3895-903. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2016.5032. Epub 2016 Mar 21.


The 448 kHz capacitive‑resistive electric transfer (CRET) is an electrothermal therapy currently applied in anticellulite and antiobesity treatments. The aim of the present study was to determine whether exposure to the CRET electric signal at subthermal doses affected early adipogenic processes in adipose‑derived stem cells (ADSC) from human donors. ADSC were incubated for 2 or 9 days in the presence of adipogenic medium, and exposed or sham‑exposed to 5 min pulses of 448 kHz electric signal at 50 µA/mm2 during the last 48 h of the incubation. Colorimetric, immunofluorescence, western blotting and reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays were performed to assess adipogenic differentiation of the ADSC. Electric stimulation significantly decreased cytoplasmic lipid content, after both 2 and 9 days of differentiation. The antiadipogenic response in the 9 day samples was accompanied by activation of mitogen‑activated protein kinase kinase 1/2, decreased expression and partial inactivation of peroxisome proliferator‑activated receptor (PPAR) γ, which was translocated from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, together with a significant decrease in the expression levels of the PPARG1 gene, perilipin, angiopoietin‑like protein 4 and fatty acid synthase. These results demonstrated that subthermal stimulation with CRET interferes with the early adipogenic differentiation in ADSC, indicating that the electric stimulus itself can modulate processes controlling the synthesis and mobilization of fat, even in the absence of the concomitant thermal and mechanical components of the thermoelectric therapy CRET.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / metabolism
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism
  • Perilipin-1 / metabolism


  • PPAR gamma
  • Perilipin-1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases