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Lipids. 2018 Jan;53(1):77-84. doi: 10.1002/lipd.12005.

Short-Chain Fatty Acids Enhance the Lipid Accumulation of 3T3-L1 Cells by Modulating the Expression of Enzymes of Fatty Acid Metabolism.

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College of Pharmaceutical Science, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, 310032, China.
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310058, China.


Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid are produced by fermentation by gut microbiota. In this paper, we investigate the effects of SCFA on 3T3-L1 cells and the underlying molecular mechanisms. The cells were treated with acetic acid, propionic acid, or butyric acid when cells were induced to differentiate into adipocytes. MTT assay was employed to detect the viability of 3T3-L1 cells. Oil Red O staining was used to visualize the lipid content in 3T3-L1 cells. A triglyceride assay kit was used to detect the triacylglycerol content in 3T3-L1 cells. qRT-PCR and Western blot were used to evaluate the expression of metabolic enzymes. MTT results showed that safe concentrations of acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid were less than 6.4, 3.2, and 0.8 mM, respectively. Oil Red O staining and triacylglycerols detection results showed that treatment with acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid accelerated the 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation. qRT-PCR and Western blot results showed that the expressions of lipoprotein lipase (LPL), adipocyte fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), fatty acid transporter protein 4 (FATP4), and fatty acid synthase (FAS) were significantly increased by acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid treatment during adipose differentiation (p < 0.05). In conclusion, SCFA promoted lipid accumulation by modulating the expression of enzymes of fatty acid metabolism.


3T3-L1 cell; Fatty acid metabolism; Gut microbiota; Lipid accumulation; Short chain fatty acids

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