Induction of beige adipocytes by naturally occurring β3-adrenoceptor agonistp-synephrine

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The prevalence of obesity and its associated diseases is increasing worldwide, and the therapeutic potential of increasing energy expenditure through differentiation or activation of beige adipocytes has attracted much interest. Therefore, we explored naturally occurring compounds that induce beige adipocytes by screening for activity to induce mRNA expression of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) in stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells cultured in beige adipocyte differentiation medium. Through screening, p-synephrine, a compound isolated from Citrus unshiu Marcov., was found to be an active compound that increased UCP1 mRNA expression in a dose-dependent manner from a concentration of 3.12 μM, which induced morphological changes specific for beige adipocytes. Similar effects were also observed in SVF cells prepared from db/db obese mice. While investigating the underlying mechanism of p-synephrine-induced beige adipocyte differentiation, we found that the effects of p-synephrine were abolished by the β3-adrenoceptor antagonist SR58894. Intriguingly, p-synephrine increased UCP1 mRNA levels in SVF cells cultured in beige adipocyte differentiation medium lacking insulin to an extent different from those by the β-agonist isoprenaline. Furthermore, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 decreased isoprenaline-induced UCP1 mRNA levels in the early phase of beige adipocyte differentiation and p-synephrine-induced UCP1 mRNA levels in fully differentiated beige adipocytes. Thus, p-synephrine appears to elicit signals via β3-adrenoceptor combined with some part of the insulin signaling pathway, finally resulting in efficient stimulation of beige adipocyte differentiation with the support of certain beige adipocyte differentiation-inducing factors. The present results suggest the potential of p-synephrine for prophylaxis and treatment of obesity and its associated diseases.

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