Aculeatin, a coumarin derived from Toddalia asiatica (L.) Lam., enhances differentiation and lipolysis of 3T3-L1 adipocytes

Akio Watanabe, Tsuyoshi Kato, Yusuke Ito, Izumi Yoshida, Teppei Harada, Takashi Mishima, Kazuhiro Fujita, Masatoshi Watai, Kiyotaka Nakagawa, Teruo Miyazawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Toddalia asiatica (L.) Lam. (T. asiatica) has been utilized traditionally for medicinal purposes such as the treatment of diabetes. Currently, the extract is considered to be a good source of anti-diabetic agents, but the active compounds have yet to be identified. In this study, we investigated the effects of fractionated T. asiatica extracts on the differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and identified aculeatin as a potential active agent. When 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were treated with aculeatin isolated from T. asiatica in the presence of insulin, aculeatin increased cellular triglyceride levels and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase activity. This indicated that aculeatin could enhance the differentiation of preadipocytes into adipocytes. Further analyses using a DNA microarray and real-time quantitative reverse-transcription PCR showed an increase in the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ target genes (Pparg, Ap2, Cd36, Glut4 and Adipoq) by aculeatin, suggesting that aculeatin enhances the differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells by modulating the expression of genes critical for adipogenesis. Interestingly, after treatment of differentiated adipocytes with aculeatin, glucose uptake and lipolysis were enhanced. Overall, our results suggested that aculeatin is an active compound in T. asiatica for enhancing both differentiation and lipolysis of adipocytes, which are useful for the treatment of lipid abnormalities as well as diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-792
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 31


  • 3T3-L1 cells
  • Aculeatin
  • Adipogenesis
  • Toddalia asiatica (L.) Lam.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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