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Phytomedicine. 2016 Jan 15;23(1):58-67. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2015.12.004. Epub 2015 Dec 21.

Cryptotanshinone, a compound of Salvia miltiorrhiza inhibits pre-adipocytes differentiation by regulation of adipogenesis-related genes expression via STAT3 signaling.

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Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Cheonan, Korea.
Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Cheonan, Korea; Institute of Tissue Engineering, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Cheonan, Korea. Electronic address:



Cryptotanshinone (CT), a major tanshinone found in Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge (Lamiaceae), has various pharmacological effects such as antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Despite its well-documented benefits in a wide range of diseases, the effect of CT on adipocyte differentiation has not been well characterized.


The present study was designed to determine the in vitro anti-adipogenic effect and underlying molecular mechanisms of CT using 3T3-L1 murine pre-adipocytes.


We measured the levels of intracellular triglyceride accumulation and mRNA and protein expression of key adipogenic transcription factors and their target genes.


Treatment with CT drastically reduced lipid accumulation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Molecular assays showed that CT effectively suppressed the expression of C/EBPβ, C/EBPα, and PPARγ and of their target adipocyte-specific genes aP2, adiponectin, and GLUT4 but activated the expression of anti-adipogenic genes such as GATA2, CHOP10, and TNF-α. CT treatment also inhibited the phosphorylation of STAT3 in the early phase of adipogenesis. A small-interfering-RNA-mediated knock-down of STAT3 potentiated the anti-adipogenic effect of CT.


Taken together, the results suggest that CT may be a good anti-adipogenic candidate because it regulates STAT3 during early adipogenesis.


Adipogenesis; C/EBPβ; Cryptotanshinone; PPARγ; STAT3

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