The beneficial effect of glycerophosphocholine to local fat accumulation: a comparative study with phosphatidylcholine and aminophylline

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2021 Jul 1;25(4):333-339. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2021.25.4.333.


Injection lipolysis or mesotherapy gained popularity for local fat dissolve as an alternative to surgical liposuction. Phosphatidylcholine (PPC) and aminophylline (AMPL) are commonly used compounds for mesotherapy, but their efficacy and safety as lipolytic agents have been controversial. Glycerophosphocholine (GPC) is a choline precursor structurally similar to PPC, and thus introduced in aesthetics as an alternative for PPC. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of GPC on adipocytes differentiation and lipolysis and compared those effects with PPC and AMPL using in vitro and in vivo models. Adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 was measured by Oil Red O staining. Lipolysis was assessed by measuring the amount of glycerol released in the culture media. To evaluate the lipolytic activity of GPC on a physiological condition, GPC was subcutaneously injected to one side of inguinal fat pads for 3 days. Lipolytic activity of GPC was assessed by hematoxylin and eosin staining in adipose tissue. GPC significantly suppressed adipocyte differentiation of 3T3-L1 in a concentration-dependent manner (22.3% inhibition at 4 mM of GPC compared to control). Moreover, when lipolysis was assessed by glycerol release in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, 6 mM of GPC stimulated glycerol release by two-fold over control. Subcutaneous injection of GPC into the inguinal fat pad of mice significantly reduced the mass of fat pad and the size of adipocytes of injected site, and these effects of GPC were more prominent over PPC and AMPL. Taken together, these results suggest that GPC is the potential therapeutic agent as a local fat reducer.

Keywords: Aminophylline; Choline alfoscerate; Glycerophosphocholine; Lipolysis; Mesotherapy; Phosphatidylcholine.