Phloretin and phlorizin promote lipolysis and inhibit inflammation in mouse 3T3-L1 cells and in macrophage-adipocyte co-cultures


Correspondence: Dr. Chian-Jiun Liou, Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, 261 Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan 333, R.O.C.


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Previous studies found that phloretin (PT) and phlorizin (PZ) could inhibit glucose transport, with PT being a better inhibitor of lipid peroxidation. This study aimed to evaluate the antiobesity effects of PT and PZ in 3T3-L1 cells and if they can modulate the relationship between adipocytes and macrophages.

Methods and results

Differentiated 3T3-L1 cells were treated with PT or PZ. Subsequently, transcription factors of adipogenesis and lipolysis proteins were measured. In addition, RAW 264.7 macrophages treated with PT or PZ were cultured in differentiated media from 3T3-L1 cells to analyze inflammatory mediators and signaling pathways. PT significantly enhanced glycerol release and inhibited the adipogenesis-related transcription factors. PT also promoted phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase and increased activity of adipose triglyceride lipase and hormone-sensitive lipase. PT suppressed the nuclear transcription factor kappa-B and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways when RAW 264.7 cells were cultured in differentiated media from 3T3-L1 cells. PZ improved lipolysis and inhibited the macrophage inflammatory response less effectively than PT.


This study suggests that PT is more effective than PZ at increasing lipolysis in adipocytes. In addition, PT also suppresses inflammatory response in macrophage that is stimulated by differentiated media from 3T3-L1 cells.