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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Dec 25;390(4):1372-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.10.162. Epub 2009 Nov 3.

Bixin regulates mRNA expression involved in adipogenesis and enhances insulin sensitivity in 3T3-L1 adipocytes through PPARgamma activation.

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Laboratory of Molecular Function of Food, Division of Food Science and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Uji 611-0011, Japan.


Insulin resistance is partly due to suppression of insulin-induced glucose uptake into adipocytes. The uptake is dependent on adipocyte differentiation, which is controlled at mRNA transcription level. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR), a ligand-regulated nuclear receptor, is involved in the differentiation. Many food-derived compounds serve as ligands to activate or inactivate PPAR. In this study, we demonstrated that bixin and norbixin (annatto extracts) activate PPARgamma by luciferase reporter assay using GAL4-PPAR chimera proteins. To examine the effects of bixin on adipocytes, 3T3-L1 adipocytes were treated with bixin or norbixin. The treatment induced mRNA expression of PPARgamma target genes such as adipocyte-specific fatty acid-binding protein (aP2), lipoprotein lipase (LPL), and adiponectin in differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes and enhanced insulin-dependent glucose uptake. The observations indicate that bixin acts as an agonist of PPARgamma and enhances insulin sensitivity in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, suggesting that bixin is a valuable food-derived compound as a PPAR ligand to regulate lipid metabolism and to ameliorate metabolic syndrome.

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