Biochanin A prevents 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin-induced adipocyte dysfunction in cultured 3T3-L1 cells

J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2019;54(9):865-873. doi: 10.1080/10934529.2019.1603746. Epub 2019 Apr 20.


2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is a persistent environmental pollutant. TCDD accumulates in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissues of the human body where it causes various toxic effects. Biochanin A is a natural organic compound in the class of phytochemicals known as flavonoids. We investigated whether biochanin A suppresses TCDD-induced loss of adipogenic action using 3T3-L1 adipocytes as a cell culture model of wasting syndrome. In the present study, biochanin A suppressed TCDD-induced loss of lipid accumulation. Pretreating the cells with biochanin A increased the levels of the adipogenesis-associated factors peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ and adiponectin, which were inhibited by TCDD. TCDD decreased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, which was effectively restored by pretreatment with biochanin A. Biochanin A also inhibited the TCDD-driven decrease in production of insulin receptor substrate-1 and glucose transporter 4. These results suggest a preventive effect of biochanin A against TCDD in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes. TCDD increased production of intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i), prostaglandin E2, cytosolic phospholipase A2, and cyclooxygenase-1, while reducing the level of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha. However, biochanin A inhibited these TCDD-induced effects. We conclude that biochanin A is an attractive compound for preventing TCDD-induced wasting syndrome.

Keywords: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin; 3T3-L1 adipocytes; Biochanin A; differentiation.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Genistein / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / toxicity*
  • Wasting Syndrome / chemically induced
  • Wasting Syndrome / metabolism
  • Wasting Syndrome / prevention & control*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Genistein
  • biochanin A