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Phytother Res. 2012 Mar;26(3):403-11. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3568. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Pycnogenol® inhibits lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes with the modulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production associated with antioxidant enzyme responses.

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Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 200-701, South Korea.


Pycnogenol® is a group of flavonoids with antioxidant effects. Adipogenesis is the process of adipocyte differentiation. It causes the increase of lipids as well as ROS (reactive oxygen species). Lipid accumulation and ROS production were determined in 3 T3-L1 adipocyte, and the effect of Pycnogenol® was evaluated. Lipid accumulation was elevated in adipocyte treated with hydrogen peroxide, one of the ROS. Pycnogenol® showed an inhibitory effect on the lipid accumulation and ROS production during the adipogenesis. We also investigated the molecular events associated with ROS production and lipid accumulation. Our results showed that Pycnogenol® inhibited the mRNA expression of pro-oxidant enzymes, such as NOX4 (NADPH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate hydrogen) oxidase 4), and the NADPH-producing G6PDH (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) enzyme. In addition, Pycnogenol® suppressed the mRNA abundance of adipogenic transcription factors, PPAR-γ (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ) and C/EBP-α (CCAAT/enhancer binding protein α), and their target gene, aP2 (adipocyte protein 2) responsible for fatty acid transportation. On the other hand, Pycnogenol® increased the abundance of antioxidant proteins such as Cu/Zn-SOD (copper-zinc superoxide dismutase), Mn-SOD (manganese superoxide dismutase), GPx (glutathione peroxidase) and GR (glutathione reductase). Our results suggest that Pycnogenol® inhibits lipid accumulation and ROS production by regulating adipogenic gene expression and pro-/antioxidant enzyme responses in adipocytes.

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