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Obesity is a global health problem. Because of the high costs and side effects of obesity-treatment drugs, the potential of natural products as alternatives for treating obesity is under exploration. 2,4,5-Trimethoxybenzaldehyde (2,4,5-TMBA) present in plant roots, seeds, and leaves was reported to be a significant inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) activity at the concentration of 100 μg/mL. Because COX-2 is associated with differentiation of preadipocytes, the murine 3T3-L1 cells were cultured with 100 μg/mL of 2,4,5-TMBA during differentiation and after the cells were fully differentiated to study the effect of 2,4,5-TMBA on adipogenesis and lipolysis. Oil Red O staining and triglyceride assay revealed that 2,4,5-TMBA inhibited the formation of lipid droplets during differentiation; moreover, 2,4,5-TMBA down-regulated the protein levels of adipogenic signaling molecules and transcription factors MAP kinase kinase (MEK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP)α, β, and δ, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ, adipocyte determination and differentiation-dependent factor 1 (ADD1), and the rate-limiting enzyme for lipid synthesis acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). In fully differentiated adipocytes, treatment with 2,4,5-TMBA for 72 h significantly decreased lipid accumulation by increasing the hydrolysis of triglyceride through suppression of perilipin A (lipid droplet coating protein) and up-regulation of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). The results of this in vitro study will pioneer future in vivo studies on antiobesity effects of 2,4,5-TMBA and selective COX-2 inhibitors.


Man-Ru Wu, Ming-Hon Hou, Ya-Lin Lin, Chia-Feng Kuo. 2,4,5-TMBA, a natural inhibitor of cyclooxygenase-2, suppresses adipogenesis and promotes lipolysis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2012 Jul 25;60(29):7262-9

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PMID: 22746947

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