Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) has an anti-diabetic effect by possibly increasing the lipid storage capacity of white adipocytes; however, this effect remains controversial. The aim of this study was to examine which stage of adipogenesis is critical for the stimulatory effect of cinnamon in adipogenesis using 3T3-L1 cells. Cells were treated with cinnamon extract during three different stages of adipogenesis. We found that genes related to adipogenesis and lipogenesis were enhanced when cinnamon extract was administered during the initiation stage of differentiation but not when administered during the preadipocyte and post stages of differentiation. At the same time, genes that were involved in the regulation of fatty acid oxidation were unexpectedly upregulated. Taken together, cinnamon may boost lipid storage in white adipocytes and increase the fatty acid oxidation capacity throughout the initiation stage of differentiation, which may be beneficial for the prevention of obesity-induced type II diabetes.
Keywords: adipogenesis; cinnamon; fatty acid oxidation; lipogenesis; white adipocyte differentiation.