Anti-obesity effect of sulforaphane in broccoli leaf extract on 3T3-L1 adipocytes and ob/ob mice

J Nutr Biochem. 2022 Feb:100:108885. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2021.108885. Epub 2021 Oct 13.


The present study evaluated the anti-obesity effect of sulforaphane (SFN) and glucoraphanin (GRN) in broccoli leaf extract (BLE) on 3T3-L1 adipocytes and ob/ob mice. Based on Oil Red O staining and triglyceride (TG) assay, SFN and BLE significantly reduced (P<.05) both lipid accumulation and TG content in the differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes. SFN and BLE increased 2-NBDG uptake by 3T3-L1 adipocytes in a dose-dependent manner. Western blot analysis confirmed that SFN and BLE increased the phosphorylation levels of both AMPK (Thr172) and ACC (Ser79), and reduced the expression of HMGCR in liver and white adipose tissues of ob/ob mice. Histological analysis revealed that SFN and BLE ameliorated hepatic steatosis, and reduced the size of adipocyte in ob/ob mice. Treatment with SFN and BLE significantly reduced (P<.05) TG content, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, total cholesterol (TC), and glucose in the serum of ob/ob mice. RNA sequencing analysis showed that up- or down-regulation of 32 genes related to lipid metabolism was restored to control level in both SFN and BLE-treated ob/ob mice groups. A protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was constructed via STRING analysis, and Srebf2, Pla2g2c, Elovl5, Plb1, Ctp1a, Lipin1, Fgfr1, and Plcg1 were located in the functional hubs of the PPI network of lipid metabolism. Overall results suggest that the SFN content in BLE exerts a potential anti-obesity effect by normalizing the expression of genes related to lipid metabolism, which are up- or down-regulated in ob/ob mice.

Keywords: Anti-obesity; Broccoli; RNA sequencing; Sulforaphane; ob/ob mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Adipocytes, White / cytology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucosinolates / pharmacology
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Lipids / blood
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Obese
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Oximes / pharmacology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Sulfoxides / pharmacology*
  • Transcriptome
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucosinolates
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Lipids
  • Oximes
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sulfoxides
  • Triglycerides
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • sulforaphane
  • Glucose
  • glucoraphanin