Nutr Res Pract.  2021 Aug;15(4):444-455. 10.4162/nrp.2021.15.4.444.

Effects of quercetin on cell differentiation and adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes

  • 1Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Dankook University, Cheonan 31116, Korea
  • 2Natural Nutraceuticals Industrialization Research Center, Dankook University, Cheonan 31116, Korea


Adipocytes undergo angiogenesis to receive nutrients and oxygen needed for adipocyte' growth and differentiation. No study relating quercetin with angiogenesis in adipocytes exists. Therefore, this study investigated the role of quercetin on adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells, acting through matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).
After proliferating preadipocytes into adipocytes, various quercetin concentrations were added to adipocytes, and 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assays were performed to evaluate cell proliferation. Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH) activity was investigated as an indicator of fat accumulation. The mRNA expressions of transcription factors related to adipocyte differentiation, CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins (C/EBPs), peroxisomal proliferatoractivated receptors (PPAR)-γ, and adipocyte protein 2 (aP2), were investigated. The mRNA expressions of proteins related to angiogenesis, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-α, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2, MMP-2, and MMP-9, were investigated. Enzyme activities and concentrations of MMP-2 and MMP-9 were also measured.
Quercetin treatment suppressed fat accumulation and the expressions of adipocyte differentiation-related genes (C/EBPα, C/EBPβ, PPAR-γ, and aP2) in a concentration-dependent manner in 3T3-L1 cells. Quercetin treatments reduced the mRNA expressions of VEGF-α, VEGFR-2, MMP-2, and MMP-9 in 3T3-L1 cells. The activities and concentrations of MMP-2 and MMP-9 were also decreased significantly as the concentration of quercetin increased.
The results confirm that quercetin inhibits adipose tissue differentiation and fat accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells, which could occur through inhibition of the angiogenesis process related to MMPs.


Quercetin; adipocyte; adipogenesis; vascular endothelial growth factor
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